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The Executive Ethics Board enforces the Ethics in Public Service Act, RCW 42.52 and the rules adopted under it with respect to statewide elected officers and all other officers and employees in the executive branch, boards and commissions, and institutions of higher education. Please note that we do not have jurisdiction over non-state employees nor over complaints filed against an agency as an entity.

 

During the 2013 Legislative Session, ESSB 5577 was passed which added language providing whistleblower protection to a state employee filing an ethics complaint.

 

 

Effective July 28, 2013 the new section under RCW 42.52.410 states:

 

(3)(a)  A state employee who files a complaint with the appropriate ethics board shall be afforded the protection afforded to a whistleblower under RCW 42.40.050 and 49.60.210(2), subject to the limitations of RCW 42.40.035 and 42.40.910. An agency, manager, or supervisor may not retaliate against a state employee who, after making a reasonable attempt to ascertain the correctness of the information furnished, files a complaint with the appropriate ethics board. 
(b)   A state employee may not be denied the protections in chapter 42.40 RCW even if the ethics board denies an investigation of the  complaint.
(4) If a determination is made that a reprisal or retaliatory action has been taken against the state employee, the retaliator may be  subject to a civil penalty of up to five thousand dollars.

Further, under RCW 42.52.420(4), the identity of a person filing a complaint under RCW 42.52.410(1) is exempt from public disclosure, as provided in RCW 42.56.240.

 

 


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