Whistleblower Program- Improper Governmental Actions

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Human Resources
Policy Number: 
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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 any action by an employee undertaken in the performance of the employee’s official duties which:

  • Is a gross waste of public funds or resources.
  • Is in violation of federal or state law or rule, if the violation is not merely technical or of a minimum nature.
  • Is of substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety.
  • Is gross mismanagement.
  • Prevents dissemination of scientific opinion or alters technical findings.

State law preserves the confidentiality of people who file whistleblower assertions and of people who provide information for whistleblower investigations. It also prohibits retaliation against people who file whistleblower assertions. The Human Rights Commission investigates retaliation cases.