Posts by marssampson

VP of HR & Legal Affairs at Green River College

Beyond Lifeguarding – Embracing a Whistleblower

Lifeguard StandThe term “Whistleblower” always takes me back to my days as a lifeguard. The whistle was a sign that something was amiss. It was a call to get the attention of others that they were at risk or to alert them that danger was approaching. In the worst case scenario, it meant that I needed to take immediate action and put myself into the situation to bring the situation to a resolution.

Today, my lifeguard training still kicks in at times. If a member of my staff or I see an employee who is moving towards an area of risk personally or for the college, we work to alert the employee and bring them back within the rules, regulations, and policies which we administer on behalf of the college. Often times it is done by pointing out the unseen danger, although we do sometimes have to “swim out” to the employee to help them back because the situation is no longer one from which they can emerge alone. The point is, we are here to ensure compliance for our mutual benefit.

As when I was a lifeguard, there is the potential that someone can go astray when there is no one on duty to help them. This is where each of you comes in to assist. If you see something that you believe is amiss, don’t hesitate to bring it to the attention of your supervisor. If you feel it is a situation that should be addressed outside of your Appointing Authority’s area, contact me directly. If you are not comfortable with reporting the issue internally, the State of Washington has a robust Whistleblower Program. It was initially covered for all employees in New Hire Orientation and through regular updates such as this.

While Green River College has a goal to be able to identify issues before they become problems and address them internally, there may be an instance when you know of an issue before anyone else. If that is the case, please do something about it. Out of appreciation, I may let you borrow my old lifeguarding whistle and bottle of sunscreen.

Contact msampson@greenriver.edu or 253.288.3320 for internal reporting or see the linked information below.