AS 39.90.100 - 39.90.150 may be cited as the Alaska Whistleblower Act.
It is unlawful for a person who is the spouse of or is related by blood within and including the second degree of kindred to the executive head of a principal state department or agency to be employed in that department or agency.
Article 02. PROTECTION FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS
(a) A public employee may not be dismissed, demoted, suspended, laid off or otherwise made subject to any disciplinary action for communicating matters of public record or information under AS 40.25.110 and 40.25.120.
(b) In this section, 'public employee' means any employee receiving compensation for services provided to the state, including the University of Alaska, or any political subdivision of the state.
(c) A violation of this section is a misdemeanor.
(a) A person who alleges a violation of AS 39.90.100 may bring a civil action and the court may grant appropriate relief, including punitive damages.
(b) A person who violates or attempts to violate AS 39.90.100 is also liable for a civil fine of not more than $10,000. The attorney general may enforce this subsection.
(c) A person who attempts to prevent another person from making a report or participating in a matter under AS 39.90.100 (a) with intent to impede or prevent a public inquiry on the matter is liable for a civil fine of not more than $10,000.
A municipality is not required to comply with the provisions of AS 39.90.100 - 39.90.150 if the municipality has adopted an ordinance that provides protections for its employees and other persons that are substantially similar to the protections under AS 39.90.100 - 39.90.150. Notwithstanding AS 29.25.070 , the ordinance may provide for a civil penalty for violation of the ordinance not to exceed $10,000.
(a) A person is not entitled to the protections under AS 39.90.100 - 39.90.150 unless the person
(1) reasonably believes that the information reported is or is about to become a matter of public concern; and
(2) reports the information in good faith.
(b) A person is entitled to the protections under AS 39.90.100 - 39.90.150 only if the matter of public concern
(1) is not the result of conduct by the person seeking protection; or
(2) is the result of conduct by the person that was required by the person's employer.
(c) As part of its written personnel policy, a public employer may require that, before an employee initiates a report on a matter of public concern under AS 39.90.100 , the employee shall submit a written report concerning the matter to the employer. However, the employee is not required to submit a report if the employee
(1) reasonably believes that reports to the employer will not result in prompt action to remedy the matter of public concern;
(2) believes with reasonable certainty that the activity, policy, or practice is already known to one or more supervisors;
(3) reasonably believes that an emergency is involved; or
(4) reasonably fears reprisal or discrimination as a result of disclosure.
(1) 'employee' or 'public employee' means a person who performs a service for wages or other remuneration under a contract of hire, written or oral, express or implied, for a public employer;
(2) 'employer' or 'public employer' includes the state, a public or quasi-public corporation or authority established by state law, the University of Alaska, and a political subdivision of the state including a municipality, school district, and regional educational attendance area;
(3) 'matter of public concern' means
(A) a violation of a state, federal, or municipal law, regulation, or ordinance;
(B) a danger to public health or safety;
(C) gross mismanagement, a substantial waste of funds, or a clear abuse of authority;
(D) a matter accepted for investigation by the office of the ombudsman under AS 24.55.100 or 24.55.320; or
(E) interference or any failure to cooperate with an audit or other matter within the authority of Legislative Budget and Audit Committee;
(4) 'public body' includes an officer or agency of
(A) the federal government;
(B) the state;
(C) a political subdivision of the state including
(i) a municipality;
(ii) a school district; and
(iii) a regional educational attendance area;
(D) a public or quasi-public corporation or authority established by state law including the Alaska Railroad Corporation; and
(E) the University of Alaska.
(a) A public employer may not discharge, threaten, or otherwise discriminate against an employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because
(1) the employee, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, reports to a public body or is about to report to a public body a matter of public concern; or
(2) the employee participates in a court action, an investigation, a hearing, or an inquiry held by a public body on a matter of public concern.
(b) A public employer may not disqualify a public employee or other person who reports a matter of public concern or participates in a proceeding connected with a matter of public concern before a public body or court, because of the report or participation, from eligibility to
(1) bid on contracts with the public employer;
(2) receive land under a law of the state or an ordinance of the municipality; or
(3) receive another right, privilege, or benefit.
(c) The provisions of AS 39.90.100 - 39.90.150 do not
(1) require an employer to compensate an employee for participation in a court action or in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry by a public body;
(2) prohibit an employer from compensating an employee for participation in a court action or in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry by a public body;
(3) authorize the disclosure of information that is legally required to be kept confidential; or
(4) diminish or impair the rights of an employee under a collective bargaining agreement.
(d) An employer shall post notices and use other appropriate means to inform employees of their protections and obligations under AS 39.90.100 - 39.90.150.