Appendix B: Sample Whistleblower Protection Policy
Whistleblower policies are critical tools for protecting individuals who report activities
believed to be illegal, dishonest, unethical, or otherwise improper. This sample policy
is adapted from a document developed by the Fairbanks (Alaska) North Star Borough.1
- The organization will not retaliate against a whistleblower. This includes, but is
not limited to, protection from retaliation in the form of an adverse employment
action such as termination, compensation decreases, or poor work assignments
and threats of physical harm. Any whistleblower who believes he/she is being
retaliated against must contact the Human Resources Director immediately.
The right of a whistleblower for protection against retaliation does not include
immunity for any personal wrongdoing that is alleged and investigated.
- Whistleblower protections are provided in two important areas: confidentiality
and retaliation. Insofar as possible, the confidentiality of the whistleblower will be
maintained. However, identity may have to be disclosed to conduct a thorough
investigation, to comply with the law, and to provide accused individuals their
legal rights of defense.
- Individuals protected include
- the employee, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, who reports to a
public body or is about to report to a public body a matter of public concern;
- the employee who participates in a court action, an investigation, a hearing, or
an inquiry held by a public body on a matter of public concern.
- The organization may not discharge, threaten, or otherwise discriminate against
an employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location,
or privileges of employment.
- The organization may not disqualify an employee or other person who brings
a matter of public concern, or participates in a proceeding connected with a
matter of public concern, before a public body or court, because of the report or
participation, from eligibility to bid on contracts with the organization; receive
land under a district ordinance; or receive another right, privilege, or benefit.
- The provisions of this policy do not
- require the organization to compensate an employee for participation in a court
action or in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry by a public body;
- prohibit the organization from compensating an employee for participation in
a court action or in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry by a public body;
- authorize the disclosure of information that is legally required to be kept
- diminish or impair the rights of an employee under a collective bargaining
- Limitation to protections
- A person is not entitled to the protections under this policy unless he or she
reasonably believes that the information reported is, or is about to become,
a matter of public concern; and reports the information in good faith.
- A person is entitled to the protections under this policy only if the matter
of public concern is not the result of conduct by the individual seeking
protection, unless it is the result of conduct by the person that was required
by his or her employer.
- Before an employee initiates a report to a public body on a matter of
public concern under this policy, the employee shall submit a written
report concerning the matter to the organization's chief executive officer.
However, the employee is not required to submit a written report if he or
she believes with reasonable certainty that the activity, policy, or practice
is already known to the chief executive officer; or that an emergency is
- Relief and penalties
- A person who alleges a violation of this policy may bring a civil action and the
court may grant appropriate relief.
- A person who violates or attempts to violate this policy is also liable for a civil
fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00).
- If an employee has knowledge of or a concern of illegal or dishonest/fraudulent
activity, the employee is to contact his/her immediate supervisor or the Human
Resources Director. All reports or concerns of illegal and dishonest activities
will be promptly submitted by the receiving supervisor to the Human Resources
Director, who is responsible for investigating and coordinating any necessary
corrective action. Any concerns involving the Human Resource Director should
be reported to the chief executive officer.
- The whistleblower is not responsible for investigating the alleged illegal or
dishonest activity, or for determining fault or corrective measures; appropriate
management officials are charged with these responsibilities.
- Examples of illegal or dishonest activities include violations of federal, state,
or local laws; billing for services not performed or for goods not delivered; and
other fraudulent financial reporting. The employee must exercise sound judgment
to avoid baseless allegations. An employee who intentionally files a false report of
wrongdoing will be subject to disciplinary action.
- "Whistleblower" is defined by this policy as an employee who reports, to one or
more of the parties specified in this policy, an activity that he/she considers to
be illegal, dishonest, unethical, or otherwise improper.
- "Employee," or "public employee," means a person who performs a service for
wages or other remuneration under a contract of hire, written or oral, express or
implied, for the district.
- "Matter of public concern" means
- a violation of a state, federal, or municipal law, regulation, or ordinance;
- a danger to public health or safety; and/or
- gross mismanagement, substantial waste of funds, or a clear abuse of
- "Public body" includes an officer or agency of
- the federal government;
- the state;
- a political subdivision of the state including a municipality or a school
- a public university in the state.
1 Retrieved May 1, 2009, from here.