Receiving a Report

Supervisors play two important roles under the Whistleblower Code:

  • Supervisors take employee reports and respond to their concerns; and,
  • Suprvisors are key players in preventing retaliatory behavior.


First Things First

Both Ethics and your department's HR can serve as resources. Only your department can answer questions regarding their specific policies and procedure for handling Whistleblower reports and their expectations for supervisory employees.  

Taking a Report: “Ten Best Steps”

  1. Take the employee's concern seriously and listen carefully.
  2. Keep an open mind. Don't dismiss the report because of who brings the concern to you.
  3. Don't speculate or draw conclusions. Gather all the facts you need to make a decision about what to do next.
  4. Take notes - specific information helps assess the nature, extent, and urgency of addressing the employee's concern.
  5. Talk to the employee about the limits of confidentiality. Is it possible in this situation, if not, how can you limit those who know?
  6. Talk to the employee about your next steps and who will need to know about the report.
  7. Ask the employee to keep your conversation confidential. Explain that this will minimize the possible disruption to the work group, stop rumors and possible retaliation.
  8. Make sure you have answered all of the employee's questions.
  9. Let the employee know the City will not tolerate any hostility aimed at them because they stepped forward. Urge them to report any hostility to you immediately.
  10. Thank the employee for coming forward. Take time to follow up privately to see if the employee has questions or concerns.

How do I decide if the matter should be referred up my chain of command or if I should handle the matter myself?

If in doubt, contact your Executive or HR team.

What do I do if an employee comes to me and complains that another employee is harassing them because they blew the whistle?

  • First, reassure the employee you take retaliatory behavior seriously and will help resolve the issue.   Let the employee know retaliation claims are independently investigated by Ethics and encourage them to contact Ethics for more information. 
  • Second, talk to the employee about contacting your department's Executive team or HR.  A department may be able to stop the offensive behavior and protect the employee immediately. It doesn't mean that Ethics can't or won't be involved, but swift action may solve a problem before it gets messier and more destructive.
  • Third, know what your department expects of you.

Ethics and Elections Commission

Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 4010, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94729, Seattle, WA, 98124-4729
Phone: (206) 684-8500

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The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) helps foster public confidence in the integrity of Seattle City government by providing education, training, and enforcement of the City's Code of Ethics and Whistle blower Code.