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Fire Department Whistleblower

Mayor Greg Nickels found that a Seattle Fire Chief Greg Dean did not retaliate against a whistleblower by demoting him.  The whistleblower claimed that he was demoted after he complained to city ethics watchdogs about wrongdoing in the department.  However, a private lawyer hired by the city found that the demotion was for “business reasons”.  (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2009097009_webwhistleblower21m.html)

I don’t know anything else about the case other than what was discussed in the papers, but I do know that there are greater whistleblower protections for public employees as opposed to private employees in the state of Washington.  In WA, statutes specifically extend whistleblower protection to public employees, however no similar statutes protect private employees.  For a private employee to make a whistleblowing case he/she must show that the adverse employment action is against public policy.

Ryan Pauley

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