Whistleblower Retaliation in New York City
It is terrifying to risk your livelihood to speak out against legal violations by your employer. Unfortunately, many companies of all sizes penalize employees that choose to take a stand against them in order to do what’s right. Whether consciously or unconsciously, managers sometimes retaliate against whistleblowers, even though it’s against the law to do so. Labor Law section 740 has been amended to expand the scope of what’s considered retaliation. Before the amendments, the law protected workers against retaliation only when they correctly complained about a violation that presented a specific, substantial danger to public safety and health. The recent amendments broaden protection to make workers feel freer to speak out. If you were harmed by whistleblower retaliation, you should give the experienced New York City employment lawyers of Phillips & Associates a call. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis.Whistleblower Retaliation
Until the amendments of Labor Law section 740, whistleblowers in New York City needed to seek protection primarily under a range of federal laws. In the past, you would not be protected simply because you had a reasonable belief that a practice presented a great, particular risk. Rather, you had to be right that there was a legal violation. The amendments have broadened protections against retaliation by protecting employees who try to do the right thing by reporting what they reasonably believe to be legal violations, even if it turns out the court doesn’t agree that a law was violated.
Moreover, the amendments prohibit your employer from retaliating against you because you disclose or threaten to disclose a policy or practice you reasonably believe violates a regulation, law, or rule, or that you reasonably believe presents a substantial and specific danger, even if it turns out to not to be illegal. This is crucial because most employees don’t know how to apply the nuances of the law to the facts at hand in order to determine whether there a legal violation probably exists. Our attorneys can now pursue claims on behalf of workers who are act reasonably even if they are not certain how the court will interpret their employer’s conduct.Expansion of Protected Classes of Worker
As of January 26, 2022, when the amendments took effect, a greater number of workers have protection against retaliation for whistleblowing. You are protected from retaliation whether you are a current or former employee. You are even protected if you are an independent contractor rather than an employee, which is an important change with an increasing gig economy.
Furthermore, you are protected against retaliation even if you aren’t the whistleblower but assist a public body that is investigating illegal activity or if you object to participating in that activity. Good Faith Effort to Notify
In many cases, as an employee who becomes aware of illegal activity, it can be frightening to give a company that seems punitive and entrenched in its misconduct the chance to retaliate against you. Before the amendments, you needed to provide your employer with a reasonable chance to correct the legal violation before reporting their behavior to an investigative agency. You now need to make a good faith effort to notify your employer before letting a public body know about the violation, but you no longer need to give your employer a reasonable chance to correct the violation in certain instances.
For instance, you don’t need to provide the notice if you reasonably believe that reporting wrongdoing would be pointless or that your employer will destroy or conceal evidence or otherwise damage your career. For instance, if your employer makes credible threats to try to blackball you from the industry when you broach discussion about a legal violation related to COVID protocols you will not then need to wait to give the employer a chance to make good on the threat and risk public health before reporting the violation to a public body so that they could investigate.Hire a Seasoned Whistleblower Retaliation Attorney
The New York City employment discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates are dedicated to fighting for workers and have a track record of winning settlements and awards against companies of all sizes. We represent workers 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.