Gregory (Greg) Keating and Christopher Shur, attorneys in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Boston office, were quoted in SHRM, in “New York Significantly Expands Its Whistleblower Law,” by Allen Smith.

Following is an excerpt:

The state of New York has amended its whistleblower law to make it one of the most expansive in the country, providing remedies, including potentially punitive damages, to employees, former employees and independent contractors. …

Expect an Increase in Litigation

"Employers can expect a significant increase in litigation and potential liability for whistleblower claims in New York," wrote Greg Keating, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green in Boston, and Christopher Shur, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green in New York City.

They noted that the New York whistleblower law now has an expanded definition of retaliation. This definition includes:

  • Discriminating against someone for exercising their rights under the law.
  • Taking actions or threatening to take actions affecting current or future employment.
  • Contacting U.S. immigration authorities.
  • Threatening to report the suspected immigration or citizenship status of a whistleblower or a whistleblower's family or household member.

Employer Notification Often Isn't Required

While a good-faith effort to notify employers of alleged wrongdoing remains, Keating and Shur noted that employer notification isn't required in the following cases:

  • There is imminent and serious danger to the public health or safety.
  • The whistleblower reasonably believes that reporting to the supervisor or employer would result in destruction of evidence or other concealment of the activity, policy or practice.
  • Such activity, policy or practice could reasonably be expected to lead to endangering the welfare of a minor.
  • The employee reasonably believes that reporting to the supervisor would result in physical harm to the employee or any other person.
  • The employee reasonably believes that the supervisor or employer is already aware of the activity, policy or practice and won't correct it.

Related reading: “Whistleblower Protections for Employees Expand in New York,” by Greg Keating, Nancy Gunzenhauser Popper, Ann Knuckles Mahoney, and Christopher Shur.

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