The City of Seattle is committed to good government and recognizes employees play a pivotal role in reaching that goal.

Seattle's Whistleblower Code encourages employees to report waste, unsafe practices, misconduct, violations of law and other unethical behavior.

All City employees can:

  • Report improper governmental actions:
    • Inside the employee’s department, to a supervisor or someone in their department’s chain of command; or
    • To the Ethics and Elections Commission.
  • Seek a trusted adviser outside the City to talk about reporting their concerns.
  • After making an internal report and waiting 30 days, report improper governmental actions outside of the City.

The law contains strong anti-retaliation provisions:

  • Employees who in good faith, report a concern, cooperate in an investigation or are mistakenly believed to have reported or cooperated, all have the right to be free from retaliation.
  • Retaliation claims are independently and objectively investigated by the Ethics and Elections Commission.
  • Retaliation claims against the City are resolved through voluntary mediation, administrative hearing or a private lawsuit.
  • Individuals who retaliate can be fined up to $5,000 by the Ethics Commission, in addition to facing departmental discipline.

City law requires all supervisory employees and all new City employees be trained and all City employees annually receive information regarding their rights and responsibilities under the Whistleblower Code.