On Friday, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal proposed new legislation to change the state’s whistleblower laws. Video from the press conference is available on Senator Edith Prague’s website.
Before the changes are discussed, it is useful to understand the state already has an existing whistleblower statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 4-61dd and that enforcement of the statute falls within the purview of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The CHRO has a portion of their website devoted to this area.
So what are the proposed changes? The changes would include:
- Allowing the Attorney General to intervene on behalf of whistleblowers in an administrative hearing on retaliation;
- Extending the time period for the rebuttable presumption that adverse personnel action is retaliation to three years from the date the whistleblower filed a complaint pursuant to the whistleblower statute;
- Authorizing the hearing officer to grant temporary relief to rescind a retaliatory action during the pendency of the hearing and to grant motions to amend the complaint if additional incidents of retaliation occur during the hearing.
- Requiring the hearing officer to send any finding of retaliation to the supervisor of the person found to have committed retaliation as well as the governor, head of the agency and the Commissioner of Administrative Services. Such individuals shall take appropriate personnel action.
- Requiring that the hearing officer’s decision and any subsequent personnel action against the person who engaged in retaliation be a public record and shall be posted on the Department of Administrative Services’ website
The Hartford Courant provides some additional background for the proposed changes as well including reference to an ongoing complaint against the Department of Corrections.
Tomorrow, I will analyze the proposal and highlight some issues that the legislature ought to consider when it debates the bill.