New York has one of the most comprehensive whistleblowers laws in the country. If you are employed in New York and wish to seek protection as a whistleblower, consider talking to whistleblower lawyers. Here is everything you need to know about whistleblowing in New York City, including how the law protects you as a whistleblower.
What is Whistleblowing?
In simple terms, whistleblowing is the act of reporting fraud, waste, abuse, corruption, or other dangers to public health and safety. A whistleblower can be any person but particularly an employee of a company or a government agency. However, depending on the weight or severity of the information provided regarding possible violations of state or federal laws by an individual or entity, most whistleblowers often fear for their safety.
Such fears are widespread, especially in workplaces. As a result, employees who blow the whistle about possible violations sometimes face employer retaliation. However, state and federal laws prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees in such situations. Therefore, if you are a whistleblower and believe that your employer retaliated against you, it may be necessary to consult an attorney.
Ricotta & Marks P.C. has some of the best whistleblower attorneys serving Queens, Long Island City, Carle Place, Astoria, Bronx, Flushing, Jamaica, NY, Great Neck, Brooklyn, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the surrounding areas. Contact them today for a free case evaluation.
How to Identify Whistleblower Retaliation
You may have a whistleblower retaliation case against your employer if any of the following is true:
Your employer suddenly creates a hostile work environment for you. The hostile environment could be in the form of verbal abuse directly from the employer or someone from the management. In addition, since employers know they can’t fire you because you participated in whistleblowing against them, some will try to frustrate you, effectively forcing you to quit your job.
Your employer excludes you from various functions within the company and even beyond. If you previously attended such functions or meetings before the whistleblowing incident, the sudden exclusion could signify employee retaliation. More specifically, your employer might exclude you from training sessions, meetings, and even specific opportunities that could advance your career even further.
Some employers might also prevent whistleblowers from obtaining better roles within the company. For example, suppose your employer had initially identified you as the perfect candidate for promotion to a certain role. However, a few weeks before the promotion, you noticed a serious violation of state or federal laws within the company and decided to blow the whistle. After finding out about your involvement as a whistleblower, your employer decided not to promote you as earlier planned, but instead, they chose a less-qualified candidate for the role. This is a case of employer retaliation.
It’s also important to note that employer retaliation doesn’t only occur when you’re employed by that particular employer. Some employers might decide to retaliate weeks, months, or even years after you quit the job. For example, if your former employer refuses to provide a reference you could use when searching for a new job, this could be a sign of employer retaliation. The same applies if they provide negative or false information about you to a potential employer.
Workers’ Rights and Protections Against Employer Retaliation
In New York, the law protects you against employer retaliation if you are a whistleblower. For example, in New York City, your employer cannot fire or mistreat you provided you had a reason to believe that their activity was illegal. This law applies even if the employer did not violate any law.
In recent developments, New York has added punitive damage to the list of remedies a whistleblower might be entitled to if an employer retaliates against them. The same law also applies to former employees and independent contractors.
Employees who do not report such violations to their employers may not be eligible for whistleblower protections. However, they may still be protected.
New York laws have many advantages despite this requirement, especially for whistleblowers. These updated regulations are designed to encourage whistleblowers to speak up without fear of retaliation. More specifically, they are designed to make it more difficult for employers to retaliate against such employees.
For example, employers cannot:
- discriminate against someone for exercising their rights as provided by New York laws;
- take actions or threaten to take action that affects the employee’s current or future employment status;
- contact U.S. immigration authorities regarding the employee involved in whistleblowing; or
- threaten to report the immigration status or perceived citizenship status of a whistleblower, including their family or any household member.
How to Prove Whistleblower Retaliation in New York
If your employer retaliates against you, you most likely have a case against them. First, however, you’ll need to prove your case.
Here are some tips to guide you:
Collect as much evidence as you can regarding your employer’s retaliatory actions. For example, if they passed you up for a promotion or terminated your contract unfairly, make sure you have the documentation or evidence to prove this.
You must also demonstrate that the retaliatory action occurred after the whistleblowing incident. For example, if you got fired without any reason or if the reason was suspicious, this could be a good piece of evidence. To strengthen the evidence, you’ll need to create a clear connection between the two incidents by recording the dates, time, location, and other relevant information.
Claims Process Explained
Whistleblower lawyers can help you file a complaint against your employer. While many attorneys in this city provide this type of legal representation, it’s important that you contact an experienced employment law firm like Ricotta & Marks P.C. We have been providing whistleblower protections for workers in New York for more than 35 years. So you can count on us when you feel like your world is falling apart simply because you did the right thing.
How R&M Whistleblower Lawyers in New York City Can Help
Whistleblowing is one area of employment law that is still developing. For this reason, these laws are constantly being updated. Besides, whistleblowing cases are never the same. It takes the intervention of experienced whistleblower lawyers NYC to fight for you and protect your rights.
Our law firm serves clients in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and throughout New York City. You can count on us anytime you need our help.
Call 347-960-4383 to fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation with one of our employment law experts!