Whistleblowers in New York City are employees who report wrongdoing or illegal activity on the part of their employer to a person or entity in a position to act upon the information. Whistleblowers are protected from retaliation by federal laws, state laws, and local New York City laws. This protection allows whistleblowers to feel safe in reporting the actions, refusing to participate in illegal activities, or testifying against the company. For the past 25 years, the Derek Smith Law Group have been helping employees in New York City fight whistleblower retaliation and get the compensation they deserve.
A whistleblower in New York City is an employee who reports wrongdoing or illegal activity on the part of his or her employer or supervisor, testifies against the employer or supervisor in court, and/or refuses to participate in the illegal activity. Based on state and city laws, the employee can be a government employee or work for a private company. Whistleblower protections make it illegal for an employer to fire or otherwise retaliate against any whistleblower.
A whistleblower attorney in New York City has two roles. First, the attorney can assist the whistleblower in filing his or her report of the illegal activity, advise the whistleblower of his or her rights under the law and guide the whistleblower through the entire process of being a whistleblower.
However, in many cases, the role of a whistleblower attorney comes into play after retaliation ensues against the whistleblower. The attorney can then help the whistleblower file a claim under the whistleblower protection laws that properly fit the facts of his or her employment and claim and help the whistleblower get the relief he or she deserves in New York City or federal court.
Several laws protect whistleblowers in New York City from retaliation.
- Sarbanes-Oxley. This law provides to the financial sector and states that no employer can retaliate against an employee for conducting a lawful act, such as provide information to the SEC, aid in an SEC investigation, or testify against an employer in an SEC case.
- Dodd-Frank. Like Sarbanes-Oxley, the Dodd-Frank Act relates to employees int eh financial sector and prevents employers from retaliating against employees who aid the SEC in an investigation, report illegal activity to the SEC, or testifies against the employer in an SEC case.
- False Claims Act. This act allows employees to file the whistleblower lawsuit against the employer in place of the government. This is called a qui tam claim and requires a whistleblower attorney to help navigate the claim and the process.
- New York Labor Law Section 740. Under the New York Labor Law Section 740, all New York employees, whether public or private, are protected from retaliation from heir employer from filing a report of wrongdoing that violates the law, regulations, or rules or presents a danger to the public health or safety with the appropriate entity, refusing to participate in illegal activity, or testifies against an employer.
- New York City Whistleblower Protection Expansion Act. This protects public employees who work for the city of New York. Under this law, city employees of all rankings as well as police officers and independent contractors and their employees with city contracts worth over $100,000 from retaliation in the event the individual files a report of wrongdoing or illegal activity, testifies in court against the city or official, or refuses to cover up the wrongdoing or illegal activity.
Whistleblower claims in New York City can include any of the following examples, and more:
- Violations to the Clean Air or Clean Water Acts
- Misappropriation of funds
- Tax Fraud
- Medicaid/Medicare false claims
- Failure to abide by a commercial vehicle and transport laws
- Filing false claims
- Submitting false receipts
- Purposeful misclassification of employees or government contractors
- Hiring undocumented workers to avoid paying taxes
- Failure to pay overtime to employees
- Violating OSHA laws
- Mortgage fraud
Each law protecting whistleblowers has its own set of statute of limitations.
The Dodd-Frank Act allows a time limit of 6 years from the date of the violation and three years after the facts should have been reasonably known by the employee, as long as it is within 10 years of the incident.
Sarbanes-Oxley provides the employee with 90 days to file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor.
Under the New York State Labor Law Section 740, the employee must first give the employer an opportunity to correct the action by reporting it a supervisor first. Then, the employee has one year to report the violation to the proper authorities. If the employee experiences retaliation, he or she has 3 years to report the retaliation.
For qui tam actions under the false claims act, the employee has 3 years to file a claim for retaliation.
Whistleblower retaliation usually leaves an employee without a job or demoted. Therefore, the court remedies are intended to correct this. Some of the remedies available through the court include:
- Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
- Removal of supervisor responsible for retaliation
- Reimbursement of benefit premiums
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Back Pay
- Future Pay
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Punitive Damages
Under a qui tam claim, New York offers additional remedies. A qui tam whistleblower is entitled to 3 times the amount recovered by the lawsuit as well as $6,000 to $12,000 per violation under state laws and $5,000 to $11,000 under federal laws.
If you are a whistleblower and experienced retaliation as a result, here are some things you can do immediately to help you get the compensation you deserve.
- Hire a whistleblower attorney immediately.
- If you have not been fired, do not quit your job.
- Follow any policies relating to whistleblower retaliation that are provided in your employee handbook.
- Document everything. Take notes related to what occurred, any harassment that occurred afterward, who was involved, when the incident occurred, where it occurred, and any witnesses.
- Keep very careful notes and keep track of any documentation, such as emails, letters, texts, etc.
Whistleblower protections are designed to protect people who want to protect the public from illegal activities brought on by an employer. Without such laws, people who are in a position to prevent illegal activities would be too worried about losing their job to do so. If you have been the victim of whistleblower retaliation, the Derek Smith Law Group in New York City can help. Contact us today at (212) 587-0760 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.