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Legislative Memo

BILL:

S.3660 (Spano) / A.3259 (Nolan)

Support

SUBJECT:

Special Healthcare Worker Whistleblower Protection

 

DATE:

June 4, 2001

 

The Business Council of New York State, whose membership includes over 4,000 member firms as well as hundreds of chambers of commerce and professional trade associations, has reviewed the above mentioned legislation and opposes its enactment.

This bill would amend the Labor Law and add special whistleblower protections, beyond the already existing protections available for all employees, specifically for healthcare workers in hospitals, nursing homes and home care agencies.

This legislation singles out employers who are healthcare providers in spite of current labor law protections; - beyond the existing NYS Department of Health's anonymous worker-family-patient complaint program; - above the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organization's (JCAHO) current requirements for a mechanism for handling concerns by employees, patients or families, as part of the overall JCAHO accreditation process.

Moreover, it would permit accusations to be made, with no accountability for those accusations, that are not actual violations and would introduce language in the law that is extremely vague and open to broad interpretation which, rather than clarifying an issue, would instead introduce further confusion.

Finally, the definition of "Employer" appears to have been broadened to include managers and supervisors indicating that they, as individuals, could be subject to legal action under this bill.

For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully urges that it not be reported by the Senate Labor Committee.