Idaho Whistleblower Laws

Whistleblower laws in Idaho at the state level

A Summary of Idaho Whistleblower Laws

Employers in Idaho can legally fire their employees for any reason or no reason under what is known as the employment-at-will doctrine. However, Idaho has adopted two exceptions to this rule. They include common law protections and statutory protections. Statutory protections are laws that are enacted by the state legislature. These laws tend to address only specific subject areas, e.g., minimum wage. Common law protections, on the other hand, are laws created by courts to address areas that are not covered by the existing statutes.

This is a summary of Idaho Whistleblower Laws, make sure to check out the Federal Whistleblower Laws as well.

Whistleblower Rights in Idaho

Common Law Whistleblower Protections in Idaho

Idaho has a public policy that is used to protect whistleblowers under certain circumstances. To determine whether a whistleblower’s case is eligible for protection under public policy, the courts usually look at statutes and constitutional provisions that cover cases similar to the whistleblower’s case. For example, if a statute endorses a worker’s right to be paid a wage that is not lower than the minimum wage, an employer who retaliates against an employee for exercising a right related to the minimum wage statute may be found guilty of violating Idaho’s public policy. Generally, Idaho’s public policy protects employees under the following circumstances:

  • Refusing to carry out an unlawful act.
  • Performing a duty that is in the interest of the public.
  • Exercising certain rights and privileges.

Statutory Protections

Discrimination

It is against the law for an employer to in any way discriminate against an individual in retaliation for opposing discriminatory practices or making a charge, testifying, or participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing related to discrimination laws. Under this statute, it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Idaho Code § 67-5911.

Farm Labor Contractor Licensing

Farm labor contractors are not allowed to discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee in retaliation for making a claim against the contractor or testifying or intending to testify in a proceeding related to farm labor contractor licensing, or consulting with anyone regarding employee rights under this statute. Idaho Code § 44-1615.

Minimum Wage

Employers are not allowed to discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee in retaliation for:

  • Making a complaint regarding unpaid wages.
  • Instituting or intending to institute a proceeding related to Idaho’s minimum wage laws.
  • Testifying or intending to testify in a proceeding related to Idaho’s minimum age laws.

Idaho Code § 44-1509.

Public Employees

An employer is not allowed to discharge, alter terms of employment, or take any adverse action against an employee in retaliation for:

  • Disclosing in good faith a waste of public funds, property, or manpower, violation of a law, rule, or regulation.
  • Participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing concerning waste of public funds, property or manpower, violation of a law, rule, or regulation.
  • Refusing to participate in an activity that violates a rule, law, or regulation.

Employers are prohibited from adopting rules or policies that restrict an employee’s ability to document or disclose a waste of public funds, property, or manpower, violation of a law, rule, or regulation. Also, employees are required to disclose information at a time and in a manner that allows the employer reasonable opportunity to correct the waste or violation. Idaho Code §§ 6-2101 to 2109.

Sanitation Facilities for Farm Workers

Farm operators and farm labor contractors are not allowed to discharge or in any way discriminate against a worker in retaliation for instituting or intending to institute a proceeding related to this statute or testifying or intending to testify in a proceeding related to this statute. Under this statute, farm operators or farm labor contractors are required to provide at least 1 toilet facility for every 40 workers. The facility has to be in a sanitary condition and within a reasonable distance of the workers’ work area. Idaho Code § 44-1904.

Wage Discrimination (Equal Pay)

It is against the law for an employer to discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee in retaliation for invoking or assisting in any manner the enforcement of this statute. Under this statute, employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees on the basis of sex by paying different wages to employees of a certain gender even though employees of both sexes have comparable jobs. Idaho Code § 44-1702.

Whistleblower Hotlines in Idaho

To file a complaint under Idaho anti-discrimination laws, call the Idaho Commission on Human Rights (IHRC) at (208) 334-2873.

To file a complaint under Idaho’s wage laws, call the Idaho Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour at (833) 410-1009.

Retaliation Claims in Idaho

Unless stated otherwise by a statute, employees can file a wrongful discharge lawsuit within 2 years of the retaliation.

Discrimination

Complaints under this statute should be filed with the Idaho Commission on Human Rights (IHRC) within 1 year of the retaliation.

Public Employees

Employees are required to institute a civil action within 180 days of the retaliation.

Retaliation and Violation Penalties in Idaho

Unless stated otherwise by a statute, a court may award an employee a combination or any of the following types of relief:

  • Reinstatement to the previous job position.
  • Reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority rights.
  • Lost wages
  • Litigation costs
  • Plus any other compensation the court deems appropriate.

The court can also order an injunction to stop any further violation of a statute.

Public Employees

In addition to fulfilling the reliefs awarded to the employee, employers who violate this statute may be liable to pay a civil fine of not more than $500.

Sanitation Facilities for Farm Workers

In addition to fulfilling the reliefs awarded to the employee, employers who violate this statute by not providing the required sanitation facilities may be liable to pay a fine of not more than $300 for each violation.

Farm Labor Contractor Licensing

Contractors who violate this statute may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and may be liable to pay a fine not exceeding $300 for each violation or be imprisoned in jail for up to 30 days, or receive both punishments. They must also fulfill all the reliefs awarded to the employee by the court. Any contractor who willfully alters, defaces, gives license to another person, or acts as a farm labor contractor without a license may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and may be liable to pay a fine not exceeding $1000 for each violation or be imprisoned in jail for up to 60 days, or receive both punishments.

Click for an overview of Federal Whistleblower Laws .

More Idaho Laws

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