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Colorado Rights Blog

HB16-1078: Local Government Employee Whistleblower Protection

Freedom of Expression & Religion
Bill Number: HB16-1078
Year: 2016
ACLU Position: Support
Sponsors: D. Kagan / M. Hodge

Description:

The bill prohibits a county, municipality, or local education
provider from imposing any disciplinary action against an employee on
account of the employee’s statements to any person about the local
government that the employee reasonably believes to show:
• A violation of a state or federal law, a local ordinance or
resolution, or a local education provider policy;
• A waste or misuse of public funds;
• Fraud;
• An abuse of authority;
• Mismanagement; or
• A danger to the health or safety of students, employees, or
the public.
The bill permits an employee to file a written complaint with the
office of administrative courts for referral to an administrative law judge
alleging that a local government has imposed disciplinary action that
violates this prohibition and seeking injunctive relief and damages.
Employees who lose the administrative hearing may file a civil action in
district court. The employee protection does not apply if the disclosure
was false or made with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity thereof,
or if it was of a protected public record or confidential information that
was not reasonably necessary to show one or more of the identified
circumstances.
Administrative law judges are given jurisdiction to hear,
determine, and make findings and awards on all these whistleblower
cases. The director of the office of administrative courts is required to
establish rules to govern these proceedings and hearings.


Current Status:

Senate Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Postpone Indefinitely (04/27/2016)



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