Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton recently said, “Transparency and accountability are bedrock principles in maintaining trust in state government.” It is a nod to the importance of whistleblowers, particularly when it comes to discovering incidents of fraud or waste in government agencies or private corporations.
This new policy of transparency, issued some 30 years after the Kentucky legislature enacted open records laws, overturns years of an element of secrecy when it came to how the Administrative Office of the Courts operated. What remains to be seen is whether this new policy will help address the fraud and mismanagement that has led to millions of taxpayer dollars being wasted in a time of fiscal crisis in the state.
The catalyst for this new guidance could very well have been a whistleblower lawsuit filed by former government employee Scott Brown, who worked at the Administrative Office of Courts for more than 17 years. Despite Mr. Brown’s flawless employment records, his supervisors plotted to delegitimize him after he began reporting on waste, fraud and mismanagement in 2014. They ultimately did so under the guise of punishing him for purchasing a used vehicle from the Administrative Office of Courts, much as many other employees had done, and reported that purchase to the Attorney General’s office for criminal investigation.
Mr. Brown filed a lawsuit for whistleblower retaliation and eventually succeeded, but the case shone a light on just how far Kentucky had to go when it came to transparency about spending on a statewide level.
Employees protected against retaliation
There are plenty of skeptics in Kentucky related to the recent court guidance issued by Chief Justice Minton, but it is at least an encouraging step forward. Whistleblowers have federal protections afforded to them, which allow them to be compensated if they become victims of employer retaliation.
For more information on how to proceed with your whistleblower retaliation case, consult an experienced Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.