124.341 Violation or misuse - whistleblower protection.

(A) If an employee in the classified or unclassified civil service becomes aware in the course of employment of a violation of state or federal statutes, rules, or regulations or the misuse of public resources, and the employee's supervisor or appointing authority has authority to correct the violation or misuse, the employee may file a written report identifying the violation or misuse with the supervisor or appointing authority. In addition to or instead of filing a written report with the supervisor or appointing authority, the employee may file a written report with the office of internal audit created under section 126.45 of the Revised Code or file a complaint with the auditor of state's fraud-reporting system under section 117.103 of the Revised Code.

If the employee reasonably believes that a violation or misuse of public resources is a criminal offense, the employee, in addition to or instead of filing a written report or complaint with the supervisor, appointing authority, the office of internal audit, or the auditor of state's fraud-reporting system, may report it to a prosecuting attorney, director of law, village solicitor, or similar chief legal officer of a municipal corporation, to a peace officer, as defined in section 2935.01 of the Revised Code, or, if the violation or misuse of public resources is within the jurisdiction of the inspector general, to the inspector general in accordance with section 121.46 of the Revised Code. In addition to that report, if the employee reasonably believes the violation or misuse is also a violation of Chapter 102., section 2921.42, or section 2921.43 of the Revised Code, the employee may report it to the appropriate ethics commission.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in division (C) of this section, no officer or employee in the classified or unclassified civil service shall take any disciplinary action against an employee in the classified or unclassified civil service for making any report or filing a complaint as authorized by division (A) of this section, including, without limitation, doing any of the following:

(1) Removing or suspending the employee from employment;

(2) Withholding from the employee salary increases or employee benefits to which the employee is otherwise entitled;

(3) Transferring or reassigning the employee;

(4) Denying the employee promotion that otherwise would have been received;

(5) Reducing the employee in pay or position.

(C) An employee in the classified or unclassified civil service shall make a reasonable effort to determine the accuracy of any information reported under division (A) of this section. The employee is subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or removal, as determined by the employee's appointing authority, for purposely, knowingly, or recklessly reporting false information under division (A) of this section.

(D) If an appointing authority takes any disciplinary or retaliatory action against a classified or unclassified employee as a result of the employee's having filed a report or complaint under division (A) of this section, the employee's sole and exclusive remedy, notwithstanding any other provision of law, is to file an appeal with the state personnel board of review within thirty days after receiving actual notice of the appointing authority's action. If the employee files such an appeal, the board shall immediately notify the employee's appointing authority and shall hear the appeal. The board may affirm or disaffirm the action of the appointing authority or may issue any other order as is appropriate. The order of the board is appealable in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.

(E) As used in this section:

(1) "Purposely," "knowingly," and "recklessly" have the same meanings as in section 2901.22 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Appropriate ethics commission" has the same meaning as in section 102.01 of the Revised Code.

(3) "Inspector general" means the inspector general appointed under section 121.48 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.73, HB 66, §1, eff. 5/4/2012.

Effective Date: 10-31-1990; 07-01-2007; 2007 HB166 02-14-2008