Session of 1999
HOUSE BILL No. 2080
By Representatives Nichols, Gilmore, Howell, Kirk, Palmer, E. Peter-
son and Vickrey
10 AN ACT concerning the Kansas whistleblower act; amending K.S.A.
11 1998 Supp. 75-2973 and repealing the existing section.
13 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
14 Section 1. K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 75-2973 is hereby amended to read as
15 follows: 75-2973. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the
16 Kansas whistleblower act.
17 (b) As used in this section:
18 (1) "Auditing agency" means the (A) legislative post auditor, (B) any
19 employee of the division of post audit, (C) any firm performing audit
20 services pursuant to a contract with the post auditor, or (D) any state
21 agency or federal agency or authority performing auditing or other over-
22 sight activities under authority of any provision of law authorizing such
24 (2) "Disciplinary action" means any dismissal, demotion, transfer,
25 reassignment, suspension, reprimand, warning of possible dismissal or
26 withholding of work.
27 (3) "Public contractor" means any person, partnership, association,
28 corporation or other private business entity that has entered into a con-
29 tract with a state agency for the provision of any supplies, materials,
30 equipment or other goods or for the performance of any services, includ-
31 ing subcontractors thereof.
(3) (4) "State agency" and "firm" have the meanings provided by
33 K.S.A. 46-1112 and amendments thereto.
34 (c) No supervisor or appointing authority of any state agency or public
35 contractor shall prohibit any employee of the state agency or public con-
36 tractor from discussing the operations of the state agency or public con-
37 tractor, as the case may be, or other matters of public concern, including
38 matters relating to the public health, safety and welfare either specifically
39 or generally, with any member of the legislature or any auditing agency.
40 (d) No supervisor or appointing authority of any state agency or pub-
41 lic contractor shall:
42 (1) Prohibit any employee of the state agency or public contractor
43 from reporting any violation of state or federal law or rules and regulations
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1 to any person, agency or organization; or
2 (2) require any such employee to give notice to the supervisor or
3 appointing authority prior to making any such report.
4 (e) This section shall not be construed as:
5 (1) Prohibiting a supervisor or appointing authority from requiring
6 that an employee inform the supervisor or appointing authority as to leg-
7 islative or auditing agency requests for information to the state agency or
8 public contractor or the substance of testimony made, or to be made, by
9 the employee to legislators or the auditing agency, as the case may be,
10 on behalf of the state agency or public contractor;
11 (2) permitting an employee to leave the employee's assigned work
12 areas during normal work hours without following applicable rules and
13 regulations and policies pertaining to leaves, unless the employee is re-
14 quested by a legislator or legislative committee to appear before a legis-
15 lative committee or by an auditing agency to appear at a meeting with
16 officials of the auditing agency;
17 (3) authorizing an employee to represent the employee's personal
18 opinions as the opinions of a state agency or public contractor; or
19 (4) prohibiting disciplinary action of an employee who discloses in-
20 formation which: (A) The employee knows to be false or which the em-
21 ployee discloses with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity, (B) the
22 employee knows to be exempt from required disclosure under the open
23 records act or (C) is confidential or privileged under statute or court rule.
24 (f) Any officer or employee of a state agency who is in the classified
25 service and has permanent status under the Kansas civil service act may
26 appeal to the state civil service board whenever the officer or employee
27 alleges that disciplinary action was taken against the officer or employee
28 in violation of this act. The appeal shall be filed within 90 days after the
29 alleged disciplinary action. Procedures governing the appeal shall be in
30 accordance with subsections (f) and (g) of K.S.A. 75-2949 and amend-
31 ments thereto and K.S.A. 75-2929d through 75-2929g and amendments
32 thereto. If the board finds that disciplinary action taken was unreasonable,
33 the board shall modify or reverse the agency's action and order such relief
34 for the employee as the board considers appropriate. If the board finds
35 a violation of this act, it may require as a penalty that the violator be
36 suspended on leave without pay for not more than 30 days or, in cases of
37 willful or repeated violations, may require that the violator forfeit the
38 violator's position as a state officer or employee and disqualify the violator
39 for appointment to or employment as a state officer or employee for a
40 period of not more than two years. The board may award the prevailing
41 party all or a portion of the costs of the proceedings before the board,
42 including reasonable attorney fees and witness fees. The decision of the
43 board pursuant to this subsection may be appealed by any party pursuant
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1 to law. On appeal, the court may award the prevailing party all or a portion
2 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.
7 (g) Any officer or employee of a public contractor who alleges that
8 disciplinary action has been taken against such officer or employee in
9 violation of this section may bring a civil action for appropriate injunctive
10 relief within 90 days after the occurrence of the alleged violation. A court,
11 in rendering a judgment in an action brought pursuant to this section,
12 shall order, as the court considers appropriate, reinstatement of the officer
13 or employee, the payment of back wages or full reinstatement of fringe
14 benefits and seniority rights, or any combination of these remedies. The
15 court may award the prevailing party in the action all or a portion of the
16 costs of the action, including reasonable attorney fees and witness fees.
17 (h) Any officer or employee of a state agency who is in the unclassified
18 service under the Kansas civil service act who alleges that disciplinary
19 action has been taken against such officer or employee in violation of this
20 section may bring an action pursuant to the act for judicial review and
21 civil enforcement of agency actions within 90 days after the occurrence
22 of the alleged violation. The court may award the prevailing party in the
23 action all or a portion of the costs of the action, including reasonable
24 attorney fees and witness fees.
25 (i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize disclosure
26 of any information or communication that is confidential or privileged
27 under statute or court rule.
28 (j) Each state agency and public contractor shall post prominently a
29 copy of this section in locations where it can reasonably be expected to
30 come to the attention of all employees of the state agency or public con-
31 tractor, as the case may be.
32 Sec. 2. K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 75-2973 is hereby repealed.
33 Sec. 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its
34 publication in the Kansas register.