Session of 1999
SENATE BILL No. 114
By Senators Hensley and Petty
9 AN ACT concerning the Kansas whistleblower act; amending K.S.A.
10 1998 Supp. 75-2973 and repealing the existing section.
12 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
13 Section 1. K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 75-2973 is hereby amended to read as
14 follows: 75-2973. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the
15 Kansas whistleblower act.
16 (b) As used in this section:
17 (1) "Auditing agency" means the (A) legislative post auditor, (B) any
18 employee of the division of post audit, (C) any firm performing audit
19 services pursuant to a contract with the post auditor, or (D) any state
20 agency or federal agency or authority performing auditing or other over-
21 sight activities under authority of any provision of law authorizing such
23 (2) "Disciplinary action" means any dismissal, demotion, transfer,
24 reassignment, suspension, reprimand, warning of possible dismissal or
25 withholding of work.
26 (3) "Public contractor" means any person, partnership, association,
27 corporation or other private business entity that has entered into a con-
28 tract with a state agency for the provision of any supplies, materials,
29 equipment or other goods or for the performance of any services, includ-
30 ing subcontractors thereof.
(3) (4) "State agency" and "firm" have the meanings provided by
32 K.S.A. 46-1112 and amendments thereto.
33 (c) No supervisor or appointing authority of any state agency or public
34 contractor shall prohibit any employee of the state agency or public con-
35 tractor from discussing the operations of the state agency or public con-
36 tractor, as the case may be, or other matters of public concern, including
37 matters relating to the public health, safety and welfare either specifically
38 or generally, with any member of the legislature or any auditing agency.
39 (d) No supervisor or appointing authority of any state agency or pub-
40 lic contractor shall:
41 (1) Prohibit any employee of the state agency or public contractor
42 from reporting any violation of state or federal law or rules and regulations
43 to any person, agency or organization; or
44 (2) require any such employee to give notice to the supervisor or
45 appointing authority prior to making any such report.
46 (e) This section shall not be construed as:
47 (1) Prohibiting a supervisor or appointing authority from requiring
48 that an employee inform the supervisor or appointing authority as to leg-
49 islative or auditing agency requests for information to the state agency or
50 public contractor or the substance of testimony made, or to be made, by
51 the employee to legislators or the auditing agency, as the case may be,
52 on behalf of the state agency or public contractor;
53 (2) permitting an employee to leave the employee's assigned work
54 areas during normal work hours without following applicable rules and
55 regulations and policies pertaining to leaves, unless the employee is re-
56 quested by a legislator or legislative committee to appear before a legis-
57 lative committee or by an auditing agency to appear at a meeting with
58 officials of the auditing agency;
59 (3) authorizing an employee to represent the employee's personal
60 opinions as the opinions of a state agency or public contractor; or
61 (4) prohibiting disciplinary action of an employee who discloses in-
62 formation which: (A) The employee knows to be false or which the em-
63 ployee discloses with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity, (B) the
64 employee knows to be exempt from required disclosure under the open
65 records act or (C) is confidential or privileged under statute or court rule.
66 (f) Any officer or employee of a state agency who is in the classified
67 service and has permanent status under the Kansas civil service act may
68 appeal to the state civil service board whenever the officer or employee
69 alleges that disciplinary action was taken against the officer or employee
70 in violation of this act. The appeal shall be filed within 90 days after the
71 alleged disciplinary action. Procedures governing the appeal shall be in
72 accordance with subsections (f) and (g) of K.S.A. 75-2949 and amend-
73 ments thereto and K.S.A. 75-2929d through 75-2929g and amendments
74 thereto. If the board finds that disciplinary action taken was unreasonable,
75 the board shall modify or reverse the agency's action and order such relief
76 for the employee as the board considers appropriate. If the board finds
77 a violation of this act, it may require as a penalty that the violator be
78 suspended on leave without pay for not more than 30 days or, in cases of
79 willful or repeated violations, may require that the violator forfeit the
80 violator's position as a state officer or employee and disqualify the violator
81 for appointment to or employment as a state officer or employee for a
82 period of not more than two years. The board may award the prevailing
83 party all or a portion of the costs of the proceedings before the board,
84 including reasonable attorney fees and witness fees. The decision of the
85 board pursuant to this subsection may be appealed by any party pursuant
86 to law. On appeal, the court may award the prevailing party all or a portion
87 of the costs of the appeal, including reasonable attorney fees and witness
(g) Each state agency shall prominently post a copy of this act in
locations where it can reasonably be expected to come to the attention
of all employees of the state agency.
92 (g) Any officer or employee of a public contractor who alleges that
93 disciplinary action has been taken against such officer or employee in
94 violation of this section may bring a civil action for appropriate injunctive
95 relief within 90 days after the occurrence of the alleged violation. A court,
96 in rendering a judgment in an action brought pursuant to this section,
97 shall order, as the court considers appropriate, reinstatement of the officer
98 or employee, the payment of back wages or full reinstatement of fringe
99 benefits and seniority rights, or any combination of these remedies. The
100 court may award the prevailing party in the action all or a portion of the
101 costs of the action, including reasonable attorney fees and witness fees.
102 (h) Any officer or employee of a state agency who is in the unclassified
103 service under the Kansas civil service act who alleges that disciplinary
104 action has been taken against such officer or employee in violation of this
105 section may bring an action pursuant to the act for judicial review and
106 civil enforcement of agency actions within 90 days after the occurrence
107 of the alleged violation. The court may award the prevailing party in the
108 action all or a portion of the costs of the action, including reasonable
109 attorney fees and witness fees.
110 (i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize disclosure
111 of any information or communication that is confidential or privileged
112 under statute or court rule.
113 (j) Each state agency and public contractor shall post prominently a
114 copy of this section in locations where it can reasonably be expected to
115 come to the attention of all employees of the state agency or public con-
116 tractor, as the case may be.
117 Sec. 2. K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 75-2973 is hereby repealed.
118 Sec. 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its
119 publication in the Kansas register.