AN ACT TO STRENGTHEN STATE HUMAN RESOURCES ACT WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS.
Amends GS 126-84 to establish State policy for State employees to report to their department head or the State Auditor evidence of activity by a State department, agency, or institution or State employee that the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of state or federal law, fraud, misappropriation of State resources, substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety, or gross mismanagement, waste of monies, or an abuse of authority (previously provided for reporting to employee supervisor, department head or other appropriate authority, limited actors reported on to a State agency or employee, and required the activity reported to constitute the specified actions rather than for the employee to reasonably believe the actions to be those specified; also more specifically referred to conduct of gross waste of monies and gross abuse of authority).
Grants civil immunity to any State employee who makes a report under the statute in good faith, defined to mean honesty in fact with the goal of complying with the duties imposed by the statute. Deems the identify of a State employee who makes a report under the statute in good faith not public record and the identity to be confidential until the matter is resolved or the employee consents to public disclosure.
Amends GS 126-85, regarding retaliation, to make conforming changes to refer to State employee reports made in good faith throughout. Authorizes the State Auditor to assist State employees in making reports regarding retaliation directly to the State Auditor as an alternative to making reports to the employing State department, agency, or institution.
Amends GS 126-88 to require all State departments, agencies, and institutions to post notice in accordance with GS 95-9 and use other appropriate means to keep State employees informed of their duties and protections and the availability of assistance from the State Auditor.
Enacts GS 126-89 to require immediate referral to and review by the Office of the State Budget and Management (OSBM) of each substantiated allegation of improper governmental activities made under Article 14 that involved fraud, mismanagement or waste of State resources. Requires OSBM to determine the amount of any savings to the State generated by substantiated allegations within 90 days of referral, and provides that the State employee who made the unsubstantiated allegation resulting in a savings to the State is entitled to a 20% monetary reward of the savings amount, as determined by OSBM.