Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a Whistleblower Law, 43 P.S. §1421. In Pennsylvania a whistleblower is defined as a person who witnesses or has evidence of wrongdoing or waste while employed and who makes a good faith report of the wrongdoing or waste, verbally or in writing, to the employee's superiors, an agent of the employer or to any other appropriate authority.
The Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law only applies to employees who perform services for a "public body" which is defined as any state officer, agency, department, division, bureau, board, commission, council, authority, or other body in the executive branch of a state government; a county, city, township, regional governing body, council, school district, special district or municipal corporation, or a board, department, commission, council or agency; or any other body which is created by a state authority or agency. The Pennsylvania Whistleblower law also applies to any employee of an employer that receives government funding of some type such as Medicare reimbursement or highway transportation funds.
Employees are protected when they make a "good faith report", which is defined as a report of wrongdoing or waste that is made without malice or consideration of personal benefit, and which the person making the report has reasonable cause to believe is true. Waste is defined as an employer's conduct or omissions which result in substantial abuse, misuse, destruction or loss of funds or resources belonging to or derived from the state or a political subdivision.
The Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law provides that no employer may discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate against or retaliate against an employee because the employee or a person acting on behalf of the employee makes a good-faith report or is about to report. The Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law also provides that no employer may discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate against or retaliate against an employee regarding the employee's compensation, or terms or conditions of employment because the employee participates in an investigation, hearing or inquiry. The employee must show that prior to the termination or discrimination, the employee or a person acting on behalf of the employee reported, or was about to report in good faith, verbally or in writing, an instance of wrongdoing or waste to the employer.
An employee who alleges a violation of the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law may file a civil action in court within 180 days after the occurrence of the alleged violation. Courts can award a variety of damages, including reinstatement of the employee to a job, back wages, reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights, all other actual damages sustained and the costs of litigation, including reasonable attorneys' fees and witness fees.