Recent Update to the New York Whistleblower Laws Offers More Protection for Employees
It can present an enormous challenge to take a stand and do what’s right when doing so could put your job at risk. This is what makes the 2021 whistleblower amendments signed into law by New York Governor Kathy Hochul so very important. They redefine what counts as protected activity and retaliation, thereby expanding protection for you and other workers who choose to put public well-being first by reporting your employer’s wrongdoing. If you believe your employer may have retaliated against you in violation of the whistleblower amendments, you should give the seasoned New York City whistleblower lawyers of Phillips & Associates a call. We are seasoned trial attorneys dedicated to fighting for workers.Whistleblower Amendments
Labor Law section 740 provides whistleblowers with protection against retaliation. However, historically, you could only get whistleblower protection if you faced retaliation by an employer after reporting or threatening to report a policy, practice or activity that, in fact, violated a law, rule, or regulation and that also posed a specific, substantial violation of the law. However, the amendments expand your protection as a whistleblower, so that, instead, our whistleblower lawyers in New York City only need to show: (1) you reasonable believed your employer’s practices violated regulations, rules, or laws or (2) they presented a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety requirements. Accordingly, regardless of your industry, your protection has been expanded with regard to what types of actions constitute protected whistleblowing.Good Faith Notification
While you’re still expected to make a good faith effort to let your employer know about a legal violation so that it has a chance to correct its practice, you no longer need to notify your employer when there is a serious, imminent threat to public health or safety. You also don’t need to provide the notification if you reasonably believe that notifying your employer would cause the company to destroy or conceal evidence of the practice, policy, or actions. Similarly, notification is not required where you reasonably anticipate a minor’s welfare will be threatened by the policy, practice, or activity or where you reasonably believe reporting the violation to your supervisor would result in your physical harm or the harm of anyone else. Moreover, notification is not required if you reasonably believe your supervisor already knows about the violation and won’t make corrections.
If your rights are violated under the whistleblower law, as amended, our New York City whistleblower lawyers can sue for remedies on your behalf. These include lost wages, lost benefits, costs, reinstatement, reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights, and injunctive relief. You can seek payment of a civil penalty of up to $10,000. You can also seek punitive damages if the violation was wanton, malicious, or willful.Retaliation
The amendments not only expand the activities that are protected but have also broadened the definition of retaliatory conduct under section 740. Whistleblower lawyers can pursue remedies for the people of New York City whenever employers take an adverse action to terminate, threaten, penalize or in any other way discriminate against an employee or former employee who is exercising their rights under section 740. They also include actions or threats by a former employer to take actions that would adversely affect your current or future employment. In another important broadening of the concept, retaliation is now defined to include an employer’s threats or actions to get in touch with immigration authorities to penalize your whistleblowing by reporting your suspected citizenship or immigration status or that of your family or household.
If your employer has threatened to report you to USCIS for reporting its violation of COVID protocols, for example, you may have a claim for retaliation. Similarly, if your employer tried to keep you from being employed in an industry again because you reported what you reasonably believed were legal violations, you have a retaliation claim. Other Expansions in Whistleblower Law
The amendments also resulted in an increase in the statute of limitations for protection. You can now seek protection two years from the date of a violation. The statute of limitations periods for section 740 and 741, which governs health care workers, are now the same. Additionally, as a whistleblower you are now explicitly entitled to be tried by a jury.Hire a Seasoned Whistleblower Lawyer
The New York City whistleblower lawyers of Phillips & Associates have a track record of securing awards and settlements for workers whose rights have been violated by businesses of all different kinds and sizes. We represent workers on a contingency fee basis and front all costs of litigation so that our clients don’t have to worry about paying a hefty retainer to see justice when their livelihood is under threat. We represent people in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Nassau County, or Suffolk County. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or complete our online form for a free consultation.