Ohio whistleblower ruling raising concerns

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A little-noticed court ruling could affect state employees' efforts to report noncriminal misconduct in government to the state's watchdog.

The Columbus Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1lVpB8d ) the Franklin County Court of Appeals decided in December that Ohio's whistleblower laws only apply to state workers who contact the Ohio Inspector General to report crimes.

A now-retired Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation lawyer alleged in the lawsuit that a reprimand letter he received in 2009 was retaliation for complaining to the IG's office over state laws broken in the nomination process for the Ohio Industrial Commission.

The Ohio Attorney General's office says an unusual set of facts were in play and the case wasn't "groundbreaking."

A state employees' union says it means non-lawyers must make legal determinations and they'll seek changes to the law.