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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:

  • 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 the dissemination of scientific opinion or alters technical findings.

Malicious or False Assertions

Whistleblowers must file assertions in good faith. RCW 42.40.020 states that an employee must not knowingly report false, malicious or frivolous information, recklessly disregard the truth or omit relevant information. It states that the identity of any person, who in good faith provides information in a whistleblower investigation, will be given confidentiality..

Personnel Issues

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

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:  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

2) University Personnel

State employees may also file whistleblower complaints with these designated agency officials: 

Dr. Mary Cullinan
Phone: 509-359-6362

Angela Jones, J.D.
Chief of Staff
Phone: 509-359-6361

Frequently asked questions about the Whistleblower Act

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