Questions for supervisors about protection from retaliation for employee whistleblowers

  1. What is the Whistleblower Protection Policy?
  2. What is a "protected disclosure" and an "illegal order?"
  3. What do I do when an employee complains to me that his supervisor is harassing him because he's blown the whistle?
  4. What happens if retaliation is found to have occurred?
  5. This policy is long and detailed. I want to be sure I properly handle situations that arise and refer whistleblower retaliation complaints to the right place. Where do I go for help?

1. What is the Whistleblower Protection Policy?

The Whistleblower Protection Policy (pdf) protects employees and applicants for employment from interference or retaliation by university officials for having made a "protected disclosure" or for having refused an "illegal order." The policy sets forth a procedure for filing and addressing complaints of retaliation for whistleblowing.

Back to top

2. What is a "protected disclosure" and an "illegal order"?

A "protected disclosure" is any good faith communication that discloses or demonstrates an intention to disclose information that may evidence: an improper governmental activity (i.e., an unlawful act such as corruption, bribery, theft or misuse of university property, fraudulent claims, fraud, coercion, willful omission to perform duty, economic waste, gross misconduct, gross incompetence, or gross inefficiency); or any condition that may significantly threaten the health or safety of employees or the public if the disclosure or intention to disclose was made for the purpose of remedying that condition.

An "illegal order" means any directive to violate or assist in violating an applicable federal, state or local law, rule or regulation or any order to work or cause others to work in conditions outside of their line of duty that would unreasonably threaten the health or safety of employees or the public.

Back to top

3. What do I do when an employee complains to me that his supervisor is harassing him because he's blown the whistle?

Let the employee know that there is a policy that protects him or her from retaliation for whistleblowing. Tell the employee they may file a retaliation complaint under the Whistleblower Protection Policy with the Locally Designated Official.  Also advise them to consult with Human Resources or the Academic Personnel Office, as applicable, as they may file a claim of retaliation under the complaint or grievance process available to them under staff policy, academic personnel policies, or a collective bargaining agreement.

Back to top

4. What happens if retaliation is found to have occurred?

Corrective action may be initiated against the employee found to have retaliated. The corrective action will be in accordance with the applicable personnel policy or collective bargaining agreement. For a member of the Academic Senate, disciplinary proceedings will be in accordance with procedures established by the Academic Senate.

Back to top

5. This policy is long and detailed. I want to be sure I properly handle situations that arise and refer whistleblower retaliation complaints to the right place. Where do I go for help?

Consult your supervisor or other appropriate administrator, the Locally Designated Official, or the Academic Personnel or Human Resources Office.

Back to top