The Missouri state senate is debating a bill that would add some protections from retaliation to university faculty who serve as whistleblowers.
State Sen. Ed Emery is sponsoring the bill, which follows recent rollbacks on whistleblower protection and discrimination laws in the state. The Academic Freedom and Whistleblower Protection Act would, if passed, prevent educational institutions from establishing policies allowing them to take adverse actions against faculty members who engage in certain expressions or disclosure some types of information.
Victims of retaliatory actions would be eligible to receive compensatory damages if a court determines the protected expression or disclosure of information was a “motivating factor” behind the institution’s actions.
Missouri lawmakers have been focused on restoring whistleblower protections in the state ever since Governor Eric Greitens signed a bill last August excluding state employees and workers at public colleges and universities from some protections against retaliatory termination.
This bill only applies to workers at the state’s public universities — private university employees would not be covered. It also would not apply to K-12 teachers and staff.
So far, the measure has received support from attorneys and professors statewide. However, there are some critics who have said that there have been few issues, if any, related to professors suffering from limited expression. They remain skeptical of the bill’s true intentions.
For further information and guidance on the whistleblower protections available for public employees, reach out to a skilled Dallas attorney at Kardell Law Group.