Governor signs bill limiting Idaho whistleblower lawsuits

Posted at 1:33 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 15:34:25-04

BOISE, Idaho — Whistleblower lawsuits against Idaho would be limited to $370,000 in non-economic damages under legislation signed into law by Gov. Brad Little.

The Republican governor on Tuesday signed the bill that has no limit for economic damages.

Economic damages can include loss of income and legal fees. Non-economic damages include such things as pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

The measure follows a whistleblower lawsuit the Idaho State Police settled in 2019 for $1.29 million.

In that case, a whistleblower claimed police retaliated against him because he testified against another officer in a court hearing.

Backers of the legislation say the limits on non-economic damages protect Idaho taxpayers. Opponents say the limit is too low and won’t dissuade bad supervisors from retaliating.

Idaho settled a separate whistleblower lawsuit out of court in 2019 for $545,000. In that case, a former Idaho Department of Labor purchasing agent said the department retaliated against him and fired him for his efforts to stop employees from skirting purchasing rules.

(by Associated Press)