Public employers should be aware that Governor Cuomo recently signed a bill repealing Section 75-b(2)(b) of the New York State Civil Service Law, which required that a public employee, in order to invoke the anti-retaliation or “whistleblower” protection of the statute, must first make “a good faith effort to provide the appointing authority or his or her designee the information to be disclosed and shall [also] provide the appointing authority or designee a reasonable time to take appropriate action unless there is imminent and serious danger to public health and safety.”
In other words, the repeal of Section 75-b(2)(b) eliminates the former requirement that public employees must internally report whistleblower complaints (i.e., violations of a law, rule or regulation, or other conduct which an employee reasonably believes to be “improper governmental action”), so as to invoke the protections of the whistleblower statute, before taking those complaints of alleged misconduct to another governmental body.
This change in the law eliminates one potential employer defense to an employee’s whistleblower lawsuit by making it easier for an employee to gain the anti-retaliation protections of Section 75-b.
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