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Will I have whistle blower protection if I quit my job prior to notifying the State DSHS of fraudulant activity?

Kennewick, WA |

Skilled nursing facility falsifying documents, etc.

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Attorney answers 3


It's really difficult to answer your question without more information. Generally speaking though, government employees can be protected under RCW 49.40 or 49.41 for retaliatory actions taken against an employee after reporting improper governmental action. If you're not a government employee then RCW 49.40 and 49.41 do not even apply to you. One key purpose of these state whistle blower statutes is to protect the employee from suffering adverse impacts on his/her employment after blowing the whistle. So, if you quit before reporting then arguably there could very few things the employer could do to retaliate against you since you would no longer be an employee.

If you are not a government employee, you are not protected under the state whistle blower statutes, but could possibly bring a common law wrongful discharge claim (based on wrongful discharge in violation of a public policy). But once again, if you quit voluntarily before reporting the violation, then you would not have been retaliated against (and would not have been discharged) so you likewise wouldn't have protections under this theory of the law either.

If you are considering quitting and/or reporting workplace violations you should consider meeting with an employment law attorney that can discuss the facts of the case in more depth help you weigh your options before you act. Good luck!

Providing this general response does not create an attorney client relationship.


If you quit, what do you need protection from?

This response does not create a lawyer client relationship. Each case is determined on its specific facts and this reply is intended for a general audience and facts particular to your case may affect the answer. Consult with an attorney in person for specific answers to your questions.


I agree with my colleagues. When you quit and then try to report problems, concerns, violations, etc. it makes it appear quite the "sour grapes" rather than genuine concerns about patient care. Also, many employees facing discipline know that the true reason they are "in trouble" is because they have raised these issues and concerns, and only since that time have they received poor performance evaluations, critical supervisory comments, etc. -- but that doesn't change the fact that a claim of retaliation is VERY difficult to win in Washington state and federal whistleblower protections only apply to specific regulated industries for specific types of reporting of specific types of illegal conduct. Get the picture? As others suggest, an hour or two of attorney consultation would be worth it, if you truly need this job or are concerned about leaving in circumstances that will keep future employment options open for you.

Without knowing all of the details, reviewing documents, and interviewing witnesses, no person should assume that this Answer constitutes specific legal advice for any specific legal situation. No attorney-client relationship is created by posting general legal responses on this site.

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