S.1227 (Spano) / A.8017
May 27, 2003
The Business Council of New York State, whose membership includes almost 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 expand whistleblower protections beyond the already existing protections available for pharmacy employees in Section 740 of the Labor Law.
This bill is not necessary or appropriate because:
- it expands
protection from employees who report actual employer violations to
employees who report what they reasonably believe is improper quality of
patient care. This would subject employers to potential legal action every
time an employee wants the courts to judge whether their report about the
employer was based on a reasonable belief. This would put a substantial
and unnecessary burden on our court system.
- it adds new
provisions allowing employees to refuse to participate in activities, policies
or practices which, again, the employee believes are improper quality
of patient care. This means that employees could refuse to perform their
job duties until after a court decided that their refusal was or was not
based on a reasonable belief. Needless to say, this suspension of work activity
pending a court action would be extremely disruptive to the employer's efforts
to provide goods and services to their customers and patients.
- it expands
the scope of an alleged employer violation from the current limit
within the labor law to any action that the employee "...reasonably
believes constitutes improper quality of patient care." It would appear
that there would not be any area not covered by this bill. Now, the only
limit to what could be alleged would rest in the imagination of the person
making the allegation of what they reasonably believe is improper
quality of patient care.
- the bill generally introduces very vague language which would be open to broad interpretation which, rather than clarifying an issue, would instead introduce significant confusion.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully urges that it not be enacted by the Senate.