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New Amendments to Whistleblower Law Proposed in New York State Senate

WhistleblowerNew Amendments to Whistleblower Law Proposed in New York State Senate

In New York State, New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) § 740 protects whistleblowing employees from retaliation for engaging in protected activity. Specifically, NYLL § 740 has a one-year statute of limitations and considers protected activity to be when an employee reports, or threatens to report, a policy or practice of the employer to a supervisor or public body that is in violation of law, rule or regulation and creates and presents a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety, or which constitutes health care fraud.

Note that there must be an actual violation of law, rule or regulation by the employer and it must create and present a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety in order for the employee’s complaints to be considered protected activity.

Currently the New York State Senate has introduced a bill, that if passed, would strengthen the whistleblower protections of NYLL § 740 by expanding the definition of protected activity. Instead of requiring an actual violation of law, rule or regulation creating and presenting a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety to take place, the bill broadens the scope of protected activity to include the reporting of “an illegal business activity” that has occurred or will occur, based on an employee’s good faith reasonable belief. An actual violation of law, rule or regulation that creates and presents a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety would no longer be required for an employee to be protected for complaining under this statute. Furthermore, the statute of limitations would be increased from one year to two years after the retaliatory action taken by the employer.

The bill reportedly has a low chance of passing, but it is important to keep an eye on in this legislative session.

If you believe that you have been retaliated at work for whistleblowing, please contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. today for a consultation.

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