The Whistleblower Program
What is the Whistleblower Act?
The Whistleblower Act, enacted by Washington State Legislature in 1982, encourages state employees to report improper governmental actions. The law makes retaliation against whistleblowers unlawful and authorizes remedies should it occur.
What is an improper governmental action?
An improper governmental action is defined as any action by an employee undertaken in the performance of the employee's official duties which:
- Good faith means the individual providing the information or report of improper governmental activity has a reasonable basis in fact for reporting or providing the information. An individual who knowingly provides or reports, or who reasonably ought to know he or she is providing or reporting, malicious, false, or frivolous information, or information that is provided with reckless disregard for the truth, or who knowingly omits relevant information is not acting in good faith.
- Gross mismanagement means the exercise of management responsibilities in a manner grossly deviating from the standard of care or competence that a reasonable person would observe in the same situation.
- Gross waste of funds means to spend or use funds or to allow funds to be used without valuable result in a manner grossly deviating from the standard of care or competence that a reasonable person would observe in the same situation.
- Improper governmental action means any action by an employee undertaken in the performance of the employee's official duties.
Malicious or False Assertions
Duty of correctness—Penalties for false information.
The Whistleblower Act specifically excludes personnel actions for which other remedies exist. Excluded actions include: employee grievances, violations of state civil service laws, labor agreement violations, reprimands and other disciplinary actions.
How to report an improper governmental action
University employees, students or others may file complaints of improper governmental actions in the following ways:
1) Whistleblower Program
2) University Personnel
Current state employees may file a complaint with the State Auditor's Office directly, by completing the online Whistleblower Reporting Form or by filling in and submitting this printable form. The form may be submitted by email to: email@example.com. The form may also be mailed to:
Washington State Auditor's Office
ATTN: State Employee Whistleblower Program
P.O. Box 40031
Olympia, WA 98504-0031