2018 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 10 - Public Officers and Employees
Article 16C - Whistleblower Protection
Section 10-16C-2 - Definitions.
As used in the Whistleblower Protection Act:
A. "good faith" means that a reasonable basis exists in fact as evidenced by the facts available to the public employee;
B. "public employee" means a person who works for or contracts with a public employer;
C. "public employer" means:
(1) any department, agency, office, institution, board, commission, committee, branch or district of state government;
(2) any political subdivision of the state, created under either general or special act, that receives or expends public money from whatever source derived;
(3) any entity or instrumentality of the state specifically provided for by law; and
(4) every office or officer of any entity listed in Paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection;
D. "retaliatory action" means taking any discriminatory or adverse employment action against a public employee in the terms and conditions of public employment; and
E. "unlawful or improper act" means a practice, procedure, action or failure to act on the part of a public employer that:
(1) violates a federal law, a federal regulation, a state law, a state administrative rule or a law of any political subdivision of the state;
(2) constitutes malfeasance in public office; or
(3) constitutes gross mismanagement, a waste of funds, an abuse of authority or a substantial and specific danger to the public.
History: Laws 2010, ch. 12, § 2.
Effective dates. — Laws 2010, ch. 12 contained no effective date provision, but, pursuant to N.M. Const., art. IV, § 23, was effective May 19, 2010, 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature.
Applicability. — Laws 2010, ch. 12, § 7 provided that the provisions of the Whistleblower Protection Act apply only to civil actions for damages resulting from retaliatory action that occurred on or after July 1, 2008.
Mid-level supervisors were not "public employers". — Where plaintiff, who was a transport officer of a detention center, reported information to the chief probation officer that a fellow transport officer's friend, who was on probation, was not being drug-tested by a probation officer and had used drugs in front of the colleague's child, appellees separately forwarded the information to officials at the detention center; plaintiff was subsequently fired; one appellee was a program manager for metropolitan court and supervised probation officers; the other appellee was programs division director of the background investigations division at metropolitan court and liaison between the court and the detention center; appellees were heads of offices within the judicial branch of government, with supervisory duties and the power to direct the work environment of employees they supervised; they worked under administrative direction, were not autonomous and independent in their duties and decision making, and were not free from the ultimate decision-making authority of their superiors; and their positions were not created by statute, as a matter of law, appellees were not "public employers" because they were not "officers" of the judicial branch. Janet v. Marshall, 2013-NMCA-037, 296 P.3d 1253, cert. granted, 2013-NMCERT-003.