South Carolina Whistleblower Protections
All South Carolina citizens are protected by state and federal whistleblower laws. We have provided information about many of the laws in South Carolina below. For more information about federal laws, click here.
Statutes specifically protecting government whistleblowers
Employment Protection for Reports of Violations of State or Federal Law or Regulation, S.C. Code Ann. § 8-27-10, et seq.
Parties Protected By Statute
(2) “Employee” means an employee of a department of the State; a state board, commission, committee, agency, or authority; a public or governmental body or political subdivision of the State, including counties, municipalities, school districts, or special purpose or public service districts; an organization, corporation, or agency supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds; or a quasi-governmental body of the State and its political subdivisions. “Employee” does not include those persons enumerated within the provisions of Section 8-17-370
Protected Actions Under Statute
(A) No public body may dismiss, suspend from employment, demote, or decrease the compensation of an employee of a public body because the employee files a report with an appropriate authority of wrongdoing. If the appropriate authority determines the employee’s report is unfounded, or amounts to a mere technical violation, and is not made in good faith, the public body may take disciplinary action including termination. Any public body covered by this chapter may impose disciplinary sanctions, in accordance with its internal disciplinary procedures, against any of its direct line supervisory employees who retaliate against another employee for having filed a good faith report under this chapter.
Specific Remedies Authorized By Statute
(B) If the employee’s report results in a saving of any public money from the abuses described in this chapter, twenty-five percent of the estimated net savings resulting from the first year of
implementation of the employee’s report, but not more than two thousand dollars, must be rewarded to the employee by the public body as determined by the State Budget and Control Board. This chapter does not supersede the State Employee Suggestion Program. For employees of state agencies participating in the program, items that they identify involving wrongdoing must be referred as a suggestion to the program by the employee. An employee is entitled to only one reward either under this section or under the program, at the employee’s option.
(A) If an employee is dismissed, suspended from employment, demoted, or receives a decrease in compensation, within one year after having timely reported an alleged wrongdoing under this
chapter, the employee may institute a nonjury civil action against the employing public body for (1) reinstatement to his former position; (2) lost wages; (3) actual damages not to exceed fifteen thousand dollars; and (4) reasonable attorney fees as determined by the court, but this award of attorney fees may not exceed ten thousand dollars for any trial and five thousand dollars for any appeal. The action must be brought in the court of common pleas of the county in which the employment action occurred. No action may be brought under this chapter unless (1) the employee has exhausted all available grievance or other administrative remedies; and (2) any previous proceedings have resulted in a finding that the employee would not have been disciplined but for the reporting of alleged wrongdoing.