HOUSE BILL NO. 4876

August 29, 2019, Introduced by Reps. Tate, Brenda Carter, Brixie, Lasinski, Sowerby, Coleman, Sneller, Haadsma, Sabo, Kennedy, Ellison, Witwer, Clemente, Liberati, Cherry, Kuppa, Stone, Shannon, Rabhi, Cynthia Johnson, Pagan, Wittenberg, Greig, Hood, Manoogian, Tyrone Carter, Elder, Hoadley, Chirkun, Hammoud, Camilleri, Warren, Whitsett, Cambensy and Hertel and referred to the Committee on Commerce and Tourism.

A bill to amend 1980 PA 469, entitled

"The whistleblowers' protection act,"

by amending the title and sections 1, 2, 3, and 5 (MCL 15.361, 15.362, 15.363, and 15.365), section 3 as amended by 1982 PA 146, and by adding section 4a.

the people of the state of michigan enact:

TITLE

An act to provide protection to employees who report a violation, planned violation, or suspected violation of state, local, or federal law; to provide protection to employees who participate in hearings, investigations, legislative inquiries, or court actions; and to prescribe remedies and penalties.

Sec. 1. As used in this act:

(a) "Employee" means a person who performs a service for wages or other remuneration under a contract of hire, written or oral, express or implied. Employee includes a all of the following:

(i) A person employed by the this state or a political subdivision of the this state, except not including the state classified civil service.

(ii) An independent contractor.

(iii) A prospective employee who previously engaged in a protected activity described in section 2.

(b) "Employer" means a person who has 1 or more employees. Employer includes an agent of an employer and the this state or a political subdivision of the this state.

(c) "Person" means an individual, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, association, or any other legal entity.

(d) "Public body" means all of the following:

(i) A state officer, employee, agency, department, division, bureau, board, commission, council, authority, or other body in the executive branch of state government.

(ii) An agency, board, commission, council, member, or employee of the legislative branch of state government.

(iii) A county, city, township, village, intercounty, intercity, or regional governing body, a council, school district, special district, or municipal corporation, or a board, department, commission, council, agency, or any member or employee thereof.

(iv) Any other body which that is created by state or local authority or which is primarily funded by or through state or local authority, or any member or employee of that body.

(v) A law enforcement agency or any member or employee of a law enforcement agency.

(vi) The judiciary and any member or employee of the judiciary.

Sec. 2. An employer shall not discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, or otherwise discriminate against an employee regarding the employee's promotion, compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment or fail or refuse to hire an employee because the employee, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, reports does any of the following:

(a) Reports or is about to report, verbally or in writing, a violation, planned violation, or a suspected violation of a law or regulation or rule promulgated pursuant to a law of this state, a political subdivision of this state, or the United States to a supervisor or public body, unless the employee knows that the report is false. ,

(b) Provides information to, testifies before, or otherwise participates in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry held by a public body regarding a violation described in subdivision (a), or a court action, or because an employee is requested by a public body to provide information to, testify before, or otherwise participate in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry held by that public body, or a court action.

(c) Protests participating, or refuses to participate, in an activity that the employee knows or suspects is a violation described in subdivision (a).

Sec. 3. (1) A person who alleges a violation of this act may bring a civil action for appropriate injunctive relief , or actual damages, or both, within 90 days 2 years after the occurrence of the alleged violation of this act. A person who brings an action under this subsection may demand a jury trial.

(2) An action commenced pursuant to subsection (1) may be brought in the circuit court for the county where the alleged violation occurred, the county where the complainant resides, or the county where the person against whom the civil complaint is filed resides or has his or her principal place of business.

(3) As used in subsection (1), "damages" means damages for injury or loss caused by each violation of this act, including reasonable attorney fees.

(4) An employee shall show by clear and convincing evidence that he or she the employee, another employee, or a person acting on his or her the employee's behalf reported or was about to report, verbally or in writing, a violation, planned violation, or a suspected violation of a law of this state, a political subdivision of this state, or the United States to a public body.

Sec. 4a. If this state recovers money as the result of an employee reporting a violation, planned violation, or suspected violation under section 2, this state shall pay 30% of the money recovered to the employee who first reported the violation, planned violation, or suspected violation under section 2.

Sec. 5. (1) A person who violates this act shall be is liable for a civil fine of not more than $500.00.$10,000.00 for each separate violation.

(2) A civil fine which is ordered pursuant to this act shall must be submitted to the state treasurer for deposit in the general fund.