New York Whistleblower Protection
In recent years, whistleblowers have opened a public eye to the shortcomings, deceit, and criminal activities of individuals and organizations, sometimes involving entire industries, respected executives, and federal agencies. But when employees choose to file a claim or report violations of the law at their workplace, they expose themselves to retaliation from colleagues and employers.
New York State law provides protection to whistleblowers in all sectors of employment, be they executives, managers, or workers, who report a violation of a law or regulation that puts public health and safety at risk. This means that an employer is not allowed to retaliate against an employer who makes the kind of report described above. The employee can make their report either to their supervisor or to an outside governmental agency to qualify for whistleblower protection.
Furthermore, New York State law provides additional protection to whistleblowers employed in the public sector, and whistleblowers who provide healthcare services.
The New York False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to bring suit in the name of the State of New York where a wrongdoer engages in conduct that defrauds the state or local governments of taxpayer dollars. This law was designed to address any mismanagement or wrongdoing involving state or local money.
Without legal protection few workers are unlikely to report what are often serious concerns about the health and safety of others. The Harman Firm, LLP, is proud to help individuals who have suffered retaliatory actions by an employer after reporting violations of the law in the workplace.
Federal Protections for Whistle Blowing Employees
In addition to the protections provided to whistleblowers by New York State, Federal law creates protections for whistleblowers in a variety of different categories, including, but not limited to, environmental whistleblowing, criminal whistleblowing, workplace safety whistleblowing, and financial reform whistleblowing. These laws provide specific protections for individuals with a good-faith belief that their employer is violating the law and who have expressed this belief to either their employer or a government agency. Even if the employer is in fact innocent, the whistle blowing employee may still be protected from a number of retaliatory actions.
In 1986 Congress passed the False Claims Act, which provides protection to employees who are discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed or discriminated against for lawful acts such as participating in an investigation or taking legal action against an employer.
Recently, the Senate unanimously voted to pass the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act (CAARA), also known as the Leahy-Grassley Bill to protect whistleblowers in criminal antitrust cases. The bill provides third-party whistleblowers with a civil remedy against employers who retaliate against employees who cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice. This program should encourage whistleblowers to come forward without the fear of being retaliated against.
If you are a New York metropolitan area employee who is considering blowing the whistle on an employer's illegal conduct or have been retaliated against for speaking out, contact The Harman Firm, LLP.