Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Washington’s Whistleblower Act protects state employees

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2023 | Whistleblower

While corporations are often the subject of whistleblower complaints, state agencies may also harbor bad actors.

In Washington, The Whistleblower Act provides state workers the protection they need to report fraudulent actions and a path toward correcting improper behavior.

What constitutes fraudulent behavior?

There are a variety of types of adverse state employee actions that may call for whistleblower intervention. In addition to serious mismanagement or waste of public resources, a report may be necessary if employee actions lead to a major violation of state or federal laws, including the Administrative Procedure Act.

What are some specific examples of improper actions?

Some of the most common types of improper government employee behavior include:

  • Leveraging a job position to receive special privileges
  • Failing to support a competitive bid contract process
  • Using state hours for personal reasons
  • Using state hours for official union business

Whistleblowing may also be important in cases of potentially serious danger to public health or safety. For instance, reporting may be necessary if state employees are suppressing or tampering with important technical, scientific or other research findings.

How should whistleblowers proceed?

When a whistleblower has concerns, precise documentation of alleged behaviors is extremely important. Reports should include specific names, agencies, locations and dates involving improper actions. If possible, it is also helpful to cite specific rules or laws that may have been intentionally or unintentionally violated.

Any Washington state employee can report fraudulent behavior to the State Auditor Office. This includes temporary or part-time workers, exempt civil service employees, classified workers and elected officials.