District of Columbia Whistleblower Laws

A "whistleblower" is an employee who reports a violation of law or ethics by their employer to the proper authorities. For example, Kate discovers that her employer is pumping toxic waste into the local river and promptly contacts the Environmental Protection Agency with a formal complaint. But since employers may be inclined to make this employee's life miserable for reporting such unsavory information, states have "whistleblower" laws to protect these employees. Virtually all whistleblower laws protect public employees, but some states also extend these protections to private-sector workers as well.

Washington, D.C. Whistleblower Protections at a Glance

Only public sector whistleblowers are protected by statute in the District of Columbia. Anyone who believes they were unfairly retaliated against as a whistleblower has one year in which to file a claim. See the D.C. Department of Human Resources' Whistleblower Protections and Obligations section to learn more, including how to file a claim.

See the following charts to learn more about Washington, D.C.'s whistleblower protections. See FindLaw's Whistleblowers section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 1-615.51, et seq.
Prohibited Employer Activity A supervisor shall not threaten to take or take retaliatory or any other prohibited personnel action against an employee because of the employee’s protected disclosure or because of an employee refuses to comply with an illegal order. Violation of this prohibition constitutes a complete affirmative defense for a whistleblower to a prohibited personnel action in an administrative review, challenge, or adjudication of that action.
Protection for Public or Private Employees? Public
Opportunity for Employer to Correct? -
Remedies A civil action shall be filed within one year after a violation occurs or within one year after the employee first becomes aware of the violation. Judicial relief and damages include, but are not limited to, injunction, reinstatement to the same position held before the prohibited personnel action or to an equivalent position, and reinstatement of the employee’s seniority rights, restoration of lost benefits, back pay and interest on back pay, compensatory damages, reasonable costs and attorney fees.
Penalties -

Note: State laws may change at any time, usually through the enactment of newly signed legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions or other means. You should contact a District of Columbia employment law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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District of Columbia Whistleblower Laws: Related Resources

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