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General State Whistleblower Statute

As a rule, state whistleblower statutes differ from federal whistleblower statutes in several significant ways. The first is that with only a couple exceptions, state whistleblower statutes do not follow the compensation model of the federal False Claims Act. Those exceptions are Illinois, Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. Only Illinois and Florida provide compensation for whistleblowers anywhere near what the federal law provides, with the other three states providing less satisfactory compensation.

State whistleblower statutes instead provide protection from retaliation for whistleblowing. Unlike the federal governments, the majority of state governments have whistleblower statutes that generally protect all employees who report violations of the law by their employers, in addition to having whistleblower statutes covering the violations of specific laws. In many states, these general whistleblower protections are limited to public employees, although other states have protections for both private and public employees.

States with general whistleblower statues that protect both private and public employees include: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.

States with general whistleblower statutes that protect only public employees include Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Many of the state laws provide employees with a private cause of action, providing another contrast with federal whistleblower statutes. This allows the employee to sue directly in the courts, rather than having to go through an agency of the state.

Inside General State Whistleblower Statute