Subject: A. 3089/ S. 1453

April 15, 2000

Prohibiting Action Against Whistleblowers in the Health Care Industry

Position: Support

AN ACT to amend the labor law and the public health law, in relation to prohibiting retaliatory personnel actions by certain employers against employees who provide certain information to a governmental agency or department, or to the public. This bill would prohibit retaliatory measures against health care workers who report dangerous activities to the government or the public.

The New York Civil Liberties Union supports these measures as it is sound public policy not to permit retaliation against persons who act courageously to protect the public good by disclosing the harmful conduct of their employers. A. 3089/ S. 1453 would amend the labor law to specifically shield employees of health care facilities who disclose practices to government agencies or the public that harm the health of a patient or the public. This bill would also amend the public health law to forbid any restrictions on the filing of complaints by health care providers, increasing employees' freedom of speech.

These measures are essential to protect not only those employed by health care facilities, but the public at large as patients. These protections are particularly important as this bill will help foster a more open discussion of public health and safety in an industry upon which the public ultimately depends to maintain their health. The consequences of employer retaliation against a whistleblower can be dire. Jobs may be lost, careers ruined. This bill offers an expansion of protections that are crucial to the safety of the public and the integrity of business. The NYCLU urges the passage of this bill.

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