An employee who believes he/she has been the subject of retaliatory action for reporting improper governmental action shall obtain relief as follows:
(1) Provide the board a written notice of the charge of retaliatory action specifying (a) the alleged retaliatory action, and (b) the relief requested, no later than 30 days after the occurrence of the alleged retaliatory action. The district shall respond to the charge and request for relief within 30 days.
(2) Within 15 days of the delivery of the response, or within 15 days of the last day on which the district could respond, the employee may request a hearing to establish that a retaliatory action occurred and to obtain relief.
(3) Within five working days of receipt of the request for hearing, the district shall apply to the State Office of Administrative Hearings for an adjudicative proceeding before an administrative law judge:
Office of Administrative Hearing
PO Box 42488, 4224 Sixth SE
Rowe Six, Building 1
Lacey, WA 98504-2488
The employee must prove his or her claim by a preponderance of the evidence. The administrative law judge shall issue a final decision no later than 45 days after the date the request for hearing was delivered to the local government. The final decision of the administrative law judge is subject to judicial review under the arbitrary and capricious standard. Relief ordered by the administrative law judge may be enforced by petition to superior court.
(4) The administrative law judge may grant the following relief:
(a) Reinstatement with or without back pay;
(b) Injunctive relief to return the employee to the position he or she held before the retaliatory action and to prevent any recurrence of retaliatory action;
(c) Costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party; and
(d) The imposition of a civil penalty personally upon the retaliator of up to $3,000 payable by each person found to have retaliated against the employee, and a recommendation to the district that any person found to have retaliated against the employee be suspended with or without pay or dismissed. [Res. 432 § E, 1992.]