Code of the District of Columbia

§ 1–615.52. Definitions.

(a) For purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Contract” means any contract for goods or services between the District government and another entity but excludes any collective bargaining agreement.

(2) “Contributing factor” means any factor which, alone or in connection with other factors, tends to affect in any way the outcome of the decision.

(3) “Employee” means any person who is a former or current District employee, or an applicant for employment by the District government, including but not limited to employees of subordinate agencies, independent agencies, the District of Columbia Board of Education, the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia, the District of Columbia Housing Authority, and the Metropolitan Police Department, but excluding employees of the Council of the District of Columbia.

(4) “Illegal order” means a directive to violate or to assist in violating a federal, state or local law, rule, or regulation.

(5)(A) “Prohibited personnel action” includes but is not limited to: recommended, threatened, or actual termination, demotion, suspension, or reprimand; involuntary transfer, reassignment, or detail; referral for psychiatric or psychological counseling; failure to promote or hire or take other favorable personnel action; or retaliating in any other manner against an employee because that employee makes a protected disclosure or refuses to comply with an illegal order, as those terms are defined in this section.

(B) For purposes of this paragraph, the term :

(i) “Investigation” includes an examination of fitness for duty and excludes any ministerial or nondiscretionary factfinding activity necessary to perform the agency’s mission.

(ii) “Retaliating” includes conducting or causing to be conducted an investigation of an employee or applicant for employment because of a protected disclosure made by the employee or applicant who is a whistleblower.

(6) “Protected disclosure” means any disclosure of information, not specifically prohibited by statute, without restriction to time, place, form, motive, context, forum, or prior disclosure made to any person by an employee or applicant, including a disclosure made in the ordinary course of an employee’s duties by an employee to a supervisor or a public body that the employee reasonably believes evidences:

(A) Gross mismanagement;

(B) Gross misuse or waste of public resources or funds;

(C) Abuse of authority in connection with the administration of a public program or the execution of a public contract;

(D) A violation of a federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation, or of a term of a contract between the District government and a District government contractor which is not of a merely technical or minimal nature; or

(E) A substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety.

(7) “Public body” means:

(A) The United States Congress, the Council, any state legislature, the District of Columbia Office of the Inspector General, the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor, the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority, or any member or employee of one of these bodies;

(B) The federal, District of Columbia, or any state or local judiciary, any member or employee of these judicial branches, or any grand or petit jury;

(C) Any federal, District of Columbia, state, or local regulatory, administrative, or public agency or authority or instrumentality of one of these agencies or authorities;

(D) Any federal, District of Columbia, state, or local law enforcement agency, prosecutorial office, or police or peace officer;

(E) Any federal, District of Columbia, state, or local department of an executive branch of government; or

(F) Any division, board, bureau, office, committee, commission or independent agency of any of the public bodies described in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of this paragraph.

(8) “Supervisor” means an individual employed by the District government who meets the definition of a “supervisor” in § 1-617.01(d) or who has the authority to effectively recommend or take remedial or corrective action for the violation of a law, rule, regulation or contract term, or the misuse of government resources that an employee may allege or report pursuant to this section, including without limitation an agency head, department director, or manager.

(9) “Whistleblower” means an employee who makes or is perceived to have made a protected disclosure as that term is defined in this section.


(Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-139, § 1552; as added Oct. 7, 1998, D.C. Law 12-160, § 102(c), 45 DCR 5147; Mar. 11, 2010, D.C. Law 18-117, § 2(a), 57 DCR 896.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-616.12.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-615.58.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-117, in par. (5), designated the existing text as subpar. (A) and added subpar. (B); and, in par. (6), substituted “by statute, without restriction to time, place, form, motive, context, forum, or prior disclosure made to any person by an employee or applicant, including a disclosure made in the ordinary course of an employee’s duties,” for “by statute”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary addition of subchapter, see note to § 1-615.51.

Editor's Notes

This section was enacted with a subsection (a) but no subsection (b).