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.


Government Employees

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

§ 8-27-10

(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

§ 8-27-20

(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

§ 8-27-20

(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.


§ 8-27-30

(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.