Whistleblower Program- Improper Governmental Actions

Human Resources
Policy Number: 
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Last Revised: 
Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Whistleblower Act -- Chapter 42.40 RCW -- was enacted by the Washington State Legislature in 1982 and amended in 1999 and 2008. The Whistleblower Act provides an avenue for state employees to report suspected improper governmental action. All reports of suspected improper governmental actions must be reported directly to the Office of the State Auditor.

Improper governmental action is defined as an action by an employee undertaken in the performance of the employee’s official duties that violates the administrative procedure act or analogous provisions of law that prohibit ex parte communication regarding cases or matters pending in which an agency is party between the  agency's employee and a presiding officer, hearing officer, or administrative law judge.

The confidentiality of an employee who reports improper governmental conduct to the Auditor or other public official is protected regardless of whether an investigation is initiated. State law also prohibits retaliation against people who file whistleblower assertions. The Human Rights Commission investigates retaliation cases.