New Law Expands Whistleblower Protections for Colorado State Employees

SB 16-056 passed at the very end of this year’s Colorado legislative session and expands existing whistleblower protections for employees of the State of Colorado.

The act broadens the protections of the state whistleblower law by prohibiting appointing authorities and supervisors from taking disciplinary action against state employees for disclosing information not subject to inspection under Colorado’s Open Records Act or information that is otherwise confidential under Colorado law to designated whistleblower review agencies. The agencies are: the Office of Legislative Legal Services, the Colorado Attorney General, and the Commission on Judicial Discipline.

The act charges the state whistleblower agencies with review of the information and the determination of whether the information must remain confidential by law or be released either to members of the General Assembly or ultimately to the public.

The act takes effect immediately upon Gov. Hickenlooper’s signature and applies to information given to by a state employee to a designated whistleblower agency on or after that date.