Whistleblower Protections Handbook Statement: Delaware

Author: Amy E. Mendenhall, Marissa L. Dragoo, Corinn Jackson, Judith A. Paulson and Brenda N. Canale, Littler

When to Include This Statement

Delaware employers with four or more employees should include this statement in their handbook to inform employees about protections provided by the Delaware Whistleblowers Protection Act (DWPA), help fulfill notice obligations under the DWPA and help ensure that employees who engage in activity protected under the DWPA are not subject to retaliation.

Customizable Handbook Statement

Whistleblower Protections

Employees have the right to complain about workplace practices or policies that they believe to be in violation of law, against public policy and/or fraudulent or unethical. The Company will not take any adverse employment action against any employee, or otherwise retaliate against any employee, because:

  • The employee, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, reports or is about to report to a public body a violation that the employee knows or reasonably believes has occurred or is about to occur, unless the employee knows or has reason to know that the report is false;
  • The employee participates in, or is requested by a public body to participate in an investigation, hearing or inquiry held by the public body, or a court action, in connection with a violation;
  • The employee refuses to commit or assist in the commission of a violation; or
  • The employee reports to the Company a violation that the employee knows or reasonably believes has occurred or is about to occur, unless the employee knows or has reason to know that the report is false.

For purposes of this policy, a "violation" is any act or omission by the Company that is materially inconsistent with, and a serious deviation from: 1) standards implemented in accordance with a law or regulation to protect employees or others from health, safety or environmental hazards; or 2) financial management or accounting standards implemented under a rule or regulation created by the Company or a law, rule or regulation designed to protect any person from fraud, deceit or misappropriation of public or private funds or assets under the control of the Company.

Employees who wish to report such violations should [insert multiple appropriate reporting channels]. Employees should also consult the Whistleblowing Policy set forth in the National Handbook for further information about reporting potential misconduct and protections from retaliation.

Guidance for Employers

  • The Delaware Whistleblowers Protection Act (DWPA) prohibits employers from terminating, threatening or otherwise discriminating against an employee because:
    • The employee, or a person acting on the employee's behalf, reports or is about to report to a public body, verbally or in writing, a violation that the employee knows or reasonably believes has occurred or is about to occur, unless the employee knew or had reason to know that his or her report was false;
    • The employee participates in or is requested by a public body to participate in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry held by that public body or a court action, in connection with a violation;
    • The employee refuses to commit or assist in the commission of a violation;
    • The employee reports verbally or in writing to the employer or to the employee's supervisor a violation, which the employee knows or reasonably believes has occurred or is about to occur, unless the employee knows or has reason to know that the report is false;or
    • The employee reports or is about to report a violation of Delaware's political campaign contribution law, participates in an investigation or hearing regarding an alleged violation of that law, or refuses to participate or assist in a violation of that law.
  • For purposes of the DWPA, a "supervisor" means an individual who has been given the authority to direct and control the work performance of the employee or who has the authority to take corrective action regarding the violation about which the employee complained.
  • For purposes of the DWPA, a "violation" is an act or omission that is inconsistent with or a serious deviation from standards implemented under federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations implemented to protect employees or others from health, safety or environmental hazards while on the employer's premises or elsewhere or to protect any person from fraud, deceit or misappropriation of funds or assets under the employer's control.
  • Under the DWPA, whistleblower protection does not attach every time an employee registers a workplace complaint. Rather, for a workplace complaint to be protected activity under the DWPA, employees must report a violation and must report it to the employer or a supervisor.
  • Employers must post notices and use other appropriate means to keep employees informed of their protections and obligations under the DWPA.

Additional Resources

Whistleblowing Handbook Statement

Whistleblower Statute Filing Requirements