Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced today that legislation she co-sponsored (A.9247) to increase protections for whistleblowers has passed the Assembly. The bill addresses numerous defects in the current whistleblower statutes.
This bill will help save taxpayer dollars and restore integrity, said Lupardo. These are necessary reforms to ensure that honest and law-abiding employees who have the courage to reveal illegal activities are protected against retaliation by their employers.
Under a whistleblower law enacted in 1984, both private and public employees in New York state who report illegal or improper activities by their employers are given certain protections. Unfortunately, there are several significant flaws in the current statutes which greatly limit the protections provided to employees.
Although the whistleblower law enacted in 1984 was a significant step, experience over the past 20 years has shown that the law is simply inadequate, said Lupardo. I have been approached by employees who are unable to report inappropriate activity because they lack fundamental protections.
The existing law only protects employees who disclose illegal activities that present a "substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety." The whistleblower statutes are also significantly flawed because they generally do not apply unless the employee has brought the illegal behavior to the attention of a supervisor and has given the employer an opportunity to correct the illegal behavior.
This legislation will protect both private and public employees against retaliatory actions for disclosing activities they reasonably believe to have occurred and be illegal. In addition, employees would be made aware of their rights and there would be new limitations imposed on the requirements for employees to first notify their supervisor.
The public has high expectations for Governor Spitzers new administration, given his record and results as Attorney General, said Lupardo. I urge the Senate to act on this legislation to help improve the publics confidence in government.
The legislation was introduced by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx). The bill does not have a sponsor in the Senate.