This bill would amend the state Labor Law and expand whistleblower protections beyond the already existing protections available in Sections 740 and 741 of the Labor Law. The Business Council opposes enactment of this bill.
- Diminished employee responsibility
The bill expands protection from employees who report actual employer illegal business activities to employees who report what they reasonably believe is an improper business activity. This would subject employers to potential legal action every time an employee wants the court to judge whether their report about the employer was based on a reasonable belief that an improper business activity has occurred.
- Performance of job duties
It adds new provisions allowing employees to refuse to participate in activities, policies or practices which, again, the employee believes are improper 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.
- No limits
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 improper 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 believe is an improper activity, as long as it's in good faith.
The bill introduces very vague language which would be open to broad interpretation which, rather than clarifying an issue, would instead introduce significant confusion.
- Another required bulletin-board posting
This bill requires that employers post yet another mandatory bulletin-board notice, adding to the almost dozen already required by state and federal governments.
- Continued damage to New York State's business environment.
For the third year in a row, New York was ranked as the second-worst state to do business in, according to Chief Executive Magazine in early 2008. Only California ranked worse. The Beacon Hill Institute's 2007 State Competitiveness Index, which gives significant weight to high-tech areas in which New York has strengths, nonetheless rated New York 38th overall. The American Legislative Exchange Council's 2007 State Economic Competitiveness Index ranked New York's overall competitiveness 49th.
This is the kind of legislation that contributes to New York's declining reputation as a place to move or expand business as reflected in these surveys.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully urges that it not be enacted by the New York State Legislature.