Whistleblower Act 101

We are state employees, stewards of government resources, and have a duty to report improper government action.

The Whistleblower Program is the means by which the Washington State Auditor’s Office investigates issues like:whistle1

  • Gross waste of public funds or resources
  • Violations of federal or state law
  • Substantial and specific dangers to public health and safety
  • Gross mismanagement
  • Alteration of technical findings or the prevention of the dissemination of scientific opinions.

Under the Whistleblower Act, RCW 42.40, any current employee who suspects improper action by another state employee or agency may file a report, and are protected from retaliation.

The first step is to complete a Whistleblower Complaint Form. Include as many details as possible, and file it with the State Auditor’s Office within one year of the date the asserted action occurred and within good faith. You can also submit the form to GRC’s designated whistleblower contact, the Vice President of Human Resources.

This is a confidential process – once you file a report, your identity is not subject to public disclosure, even if the State Auditor’s Office does not proceed with an investigation.

For more information, please take a look at the State Auditor’s Office website or call at (360) 725-5358. You may also contact Green River’s Office of Human Resources and Legal Affairs at ext. 3320.

*Please note that Whistleblower Program is not the place for filing a complaint or grievance, which follows a different process depending on the employee type. For grievance or complaint related questions, please contact Human Resources, ext. 3320.

Coming to a Wall Near You!

First stop, Enumclaw Campus! Krispy Kremes and posters in hand!

Why is HR putting up new, 2015 labor law posters across main and branch campuses? Employers in the United States are required to display the most current federal and state labor laws. Workplace posters are important because they inform workers and employers of their rights and responsibilities. These posters include the current minimum wage, Job Safety and Health Law, Employee Polygraph Protection Act, Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), and more. If you have questions regarding these laws, please contact Employee and Labor Relations Managers, Barbara Iribarren and Chernenko Wheatley.

Betsy Williams and Beckie Jensen, our first recipients of the 2015 labor posters!

Betsy Williams and Beckie Jensen, our first recipients of the 2015 labor posters!

Links to each poster are listed below and will be coming soon to the GatorNet.

It's official! Enumclaw is ready for 2015!

It’s official! Enumclaw is ready for 2015!

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.