Pennsylvania nears a game-changing whistleblower-law amendment

Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby.
Let me know.
Girl I’m gonna show you how to do it.
And we start real slow.
You just put your lips together.
And you come real close.
Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby?
Here we go.

Concerned with the limited scope of Pennsylvania’s Whistleblower Law, the existential activist Flo Rida wrote the 2012 hit Whistle to raise awareness and trigger a potentially huge change in the law.

{Editor’s Note: No he didn’t. Not at all.}

Still, last week, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed this proposed amendment to the Whistleblower Law, which would expand its scope to include employees of any employer that “receives money from a public body to perform work or provide services.”

Presently, the law prohibits retaliation against only public employees who, in good faith, report (or are about to report) either:

  1. An employer’s conduct or omissions which result in substantial abuse, misuse, destruction or loss of funds or resources belonging to or derived from Commonwealth or political subdivision sources.
  2. A violation which is not of a merely technical or minimal nature of a Federal or State statute or regulation, of a political subdivision ordinance or regulation or of a code of conduct or ethics designed to protect the interest of the public or the employer.

On top of expanding the scope of whistleblower protection in PA, the legislation would also increase penalties on individuals who violate the law’s provisions. Individuals found guilty would face a fine of $10,000 (currently $500) and would be suspended from public office for a period of seven years (currently six months) for preventing disclosure of criminal activity.

The bill now moves to the PA Senate, where it now sits in the Labor and Industry Committee, for consideration.