Article 14.

Protection for Reporting Improper Government Activities.

126-84. Statement of policy.

(a) It is the policy of this State that State employees shall be encouraged to report verbally or in writing to their supervisor, department head, or other appropriate authority, evidence of activity by a State agency or State employee constituting:

(1) A violation of State or federal law, rule or regulation;

(2) Fraud;

(3) Misappropriation of State resources;

(4) Substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety; or

(5) Gross mismanagement, a gross waste of monies, or gross abuse of authority.

(b) Further, it is the policy of this State that State employees be free of intimidation or harassment when reporting to public bodies about matters of public concern, including offering testimony to or testifying before appropriate legislative panels. (1989, c. 236, s. 1; 1997-520, s. 5.)

 

126-85. Protection from retaliation.

(a) No head of any State department, agency or institution or other State employee exercising supervisory authority shall discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate against a State employee regarding the State employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because the State employee, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, reports or is about to report, verbally or in writing, any activity described in G.S. 126-84, unless the State employee knows or has reason to believe that the report is inaccurate.

(a1) No State employee shall retaliate against another State employee because the employee, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, reports or is about to report, verbally or in writing, any activity described in G.S. 126-84.

(b) No head of any State department, agency or institution or other State employee exercising supervisory authority shall discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate against a State employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment because the State employee has refused to carry out a directive which in fact constitutes a violation of State or federal law, rule or regulation or poses a substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety.

(b1) No State employee shall retaliate against another State employee because the employee has refused to carry out a directive which may constitute a violation of State or federal law, rule or regulation, or poses a substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety.

(c) The protections of this Article shall include State employees who report any activity described in G.S. 126-84 to the State Auditor as authorized by G.S. 147-64.6B or to the Program Evaluation Division as authorized by G.S. 120-36.12(10). (1989, c. 236, s. 1; 1997-520, s. 6; 2008-196, s. 2(b); 2008-215, s. 8.)

 

126-86. Civil actions for injunctive relief or other remedies.

Any State employee injured by a violation of G.S. 126-85 who is not subject to Article 8 of this Chapter may maintain an action in superior court for damages, an injunction, or other remedies provided in this Article against the person or agency who committed the violation within one year after the occurrence of the alleged violation of this Article; provided, however, any claim arising under Article 21 of Chapter 95 of the General Statutes may be maintained pursuant to the provisions of that Article only and may be redressed only by the remedies and relief available under that Article. (1989, c. 236, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1021, s. 6; 2013-382, s. 7.10.)

 

126-87. Remedies.

A court, in rendering a judgment in an action brought pursuant to this Article, may order an injunction, damages, reinstatement of the employee, the payment of back wages, full reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights, costs, reasonable attorney's fees or any combination of these. If an application for a permanent injunction is granted, the employee shall be awarded costs and reasonable attorney's fees. If in an action for damages the court finds that the employee was injured by a willful violation of G.S. 126-85, the court shall award as damages three times the amount of actual damages plus costs and reasonable attorney's fees against the individual or individuals found to be in violation of G.S. 126-84. (1989, c. 236, s.1)

 

126-88. Notice of employee protections and obligations.

It shall be the duty of an employer of a State employee to post notice in accordance with G.S. 95-9 or use other appropriate means to keep his employees informed of their protections and obligations under this Article. (1989, c. 236, s. 1.)

 

126-89: Reserved for future codification purposes.