Expands Whistleblower Protections
June 18, 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 in Section 740 of the Labor Law.
The Business Council opposes this bill because:
- It expands
protection from employees who report actual employer violations to
employees who report what they reasonably believe is or will be a
violation. 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.
- It adds new
provisions allowing employees to refuse to participate in activities, policies
or practices which, again, the employee believes are illegal business
activities. 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. This suspension of work activity pending a court
action would be extremely disruptive to the employer's efforts to provide
goods and services to customers.
- It expands
the scope of an alleged employer violation from the current limit
within the labor law to any action that the employee "...who in good
faith reasonably believes that an illegal business activity has occurred
or will occur..." It appears that there would not be any area not covered
by this bill. 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 an illegal activity.
- The bill introduces
very vague language which would be open to broad interpretation which, rather
than clarifying an issue, would instead introduce significant confusion.
- Requires that employers post yet another mandatory bulletin-board notice and then waives the requirement that the employee notify the employer of the illegal activity, as required by the law, if the notice is not posted.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully urges that it not be reported by the Senate.