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Whistleblower Retaliation

BACKGROUND

During the 2008 session, the Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, SB 6776.  The law became effective June 12, 2008.  SB 6776 gives more protections to whistleblowers and employees who allege whistleblower retaliation within state government and higher education institutions. 

The State Auditor’s Office (SAO) enforces the whistleblower aspects of the law.  To file a whistleblower complaint, you can contact the State Auditor’s Office or an agency designee, as defined in RCW 42.40.  More information about SAO can be found online at www.sao.wa.gov.

Some employees who file whistleblower complaints also believe they experience retaliation by their employers because they have filed a complaint.  The Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) enforces the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), RCW 49.60.  The WLAD prohibits retaliation, including unfair actions against state employees who have filed a complaint with the SAO. 

Instead of using WSHRC’s free complaint process, whistleblowers alleging retaliation may pursue arbitration through a mutually agreed upon arbitrator.  Both parties will equally share the cost of arbitration. The WSHRC’s complaint process is free, while arbitration can be very expensive.   

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Fourteen Points for State Employers