Whistleblowers in the state of New York will soon have more needed protection against retaliation from their employers. This new legislation was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul and is effective as of January 26, 2022.
Senate Bill S4394A will amend Section 740 of New York Labor Law to provide added job protections for those who come forward about the wrongdoing or malfeasance of their employers. The changes to the whistleblower law come as great news to workers, where New York was lagging in similar protections offered by neighboring states.
Changes to the Current New York Labor Law
Some of the most significant changes to New York State Whistleblowing law that will go into effect in January 2022 include the following amendments to Section 740:
- The definition of “retaliatory action” has been expanded to include any adverse employment action (e.g., termination of employment, demotion, pay cut) or threat against an employee engaged in whistleblowing. The language of this section has been amended to include threats to contact immigration authorities.
- Whistleblowers will be protected against employer retaliation even if they were not acting in the scope of their job duties when they reported wrongdoing.
- “Employees” will be defined as current employees, former employees, and independent contractors.
- The statute of limitations for retaliation claims will be increased from one to two years.
- Plaintiffs in whistleblower retaliation cases are entitled to request a jury trial and to recover punitive damages if they prevail in court.
- The new law also protects employees who disclose or threaten to disclose information that the employee, not the employer, reasonably believes is in violation of the laws and regulations governing the state of New York. Previously, the law required that employees who reported employer activities must have certain knowledge that the activities they reported violated the law.
- Judicial rulings and executive orders are now included in the definition of law, rule, or regulation in the New York Labor Law.
Working with a veteran employment law firm can help employees protect their legal rights and pursue employer retaliation claims in New York. A qualified employment law firm can deliver the zealous representation needed in these cases to ensure that employers are held accountable for their violations of New York labor laws.
Finding the Right Employment Attorney
At Risman & Risman, we focus on helping workers protect themselves from exploitation or unsafe working conditions in the workplace. If you or someone you know needs the assistance of an employment attorney in New York, our team will be honored to provide legal counsel and representation. Give us a call today at 212-233-6400 to schedule a free initial consultation with our team.
We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.