Recently passed Ohio House Bill 66 requires the Auditor of State to establish and maintain a system for the reporting of fraud by any public office or public official, including misuse and misappropriation of public money. The Auditor is required to keep a detailed log (a public record) of complaints received through the system.
The new law requires public employers to notify their new and existing employees of this fraud-reporting system. Effective May 4, 2012, public employers in Ohio must:
- Provide information to new employees upon employment about the fraud-reporting system and the means of reporting fraud;
- Obtain confirmation from new employees of their receipt of the information within 30 days of hire; and
- Make all existing employees aware of the fraud-reporting system.
The Auditor of State has created a model form for public employers to use for these purposes. A copy of that form is available here or from the Auditor of State website. The above requirements can also be satisfied by including information about the fraud-reporting system and the means of reporting in an employee handbook, provided employees sign and verify their receipt of that handbook.
The new law also extends whistleblower protections already in existence for classified or unclassified civil service employees by making complaints through the fraud-reporting system another form of lawfully protected activity for which an employee may not be disciplined or otherwise retaliated against.