House OKs bill limiting Idaho whistleblower lawsuits

March 9, 2020 GMT

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Whistleblower lawsuits against Idaho would be limited to $370,000 in non-economic damages under legislation that headed to the Senate on Monday.

The House voted 56-9 to approve the measure that has no limit for economic damages.

Economic damages include such things as 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 ISP retaliated against him because he testified against another officer in a court hearing.


Republican Rep. Greg Chaney, a sponsor of the bill, said the legislation tries to find a balance setting limits on non-economic damages to protect taxpayers while also considering the equally serious responsibility the state has to protect whistleblowers.

Whistleblowers can save the state money.

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.