Enacts provisions providing protection to employees from retaliatory actions by employers where such employees report improper business activities; applicable to employees who in good faith reasonably believe that an improper business activity has or will occur, based on information that the employees reasonably believe to be true; provides remedies and relief.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A3603
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This bill would prohibit certain adverse personnel actions by public
employers taken against public employees when they report improper
events or activities.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
This bill would amend sections 740 and 741 of the labor law, and section
75-b of the civil service law to: offer the following necessary changes
to the current legislation:
*The bill strengthens the protections afforded employees by prohibiting
retaliatory action for disclosing or refusing to participate in "improp-
er governmental action." Improper governmental action is defined as any
practice, procedure, action or failure to act by an employer that
violates any law, rule or regulation, expanding the definition of
employer misconduct beyond that which would present a substantial and
significant threat to the public health and safety
*The bill eliminates the notice requirement, so that employees are no
longer required to bring the misconduct in question to the attention of
their employer prior to reporting such misconduct to an outside source.
The Supreme Court has held that such internal communications are not
protected under the First Amendment. See Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S.
(2006). In addition, the notice requirement allowed employers to cover
their tracks while preparing a dossier against the reporting employee.
*The bill increases the civil penalty allowed in such whistle blower
claims t6 $30,000.
*The bill eliminates the right of the employer to seek attorney's fees
for those claims to be determined to be made without a reasonable basis.
This bill would expand the current whistle blower protections under
Sections 740 and 741 of the Labor Law and Section 75-b of the Civil
Currently, the whistle blower protections afforded under these statutes
is overly narrow in scope, merely protecting employees who are reporting
employer misconduct that threatens the general public health and safety.
The corporate scandals that rocked the business community in the early
part of this decade demonstrate the vital need for broad whistle blower
protections The narrow scope of these statutes deprives them of any true
meaning or effect. As a result, this much needed legislation finally
offers adequate protection to those brave employees who refuse to sacri-
fice their own integrity in the face of employer intimidation.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2022 01/05/22 referred to labor
2019-2020 A3863 referred to labor
2017-2018 A3893 referred to labor
2015-16 A2889 referred to labor
2013-14 A4148 referred to labor
A4468 2009/2C10 held for consideration in Labor
See fiscal note.
This act would take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have