Members of the City Council for Long Island City developed new legislation to offer greater protections for whistleblowers who speak out about workplace safety issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to keep all essential workers safer and to hold employers liable for the working conditions they maintain.
Under the new law, workers who blow the whistle on workplace safety failures during the pandemic would be protected from retaliation, including being fired without “just cause.” Employers would see fines of $2,500 for each violation.
The bill arose after reports that local medical workers were being threatened by employers when speaking out against shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the poor, unsafe workplace conditions in which they were forced to do their jobs. According to these healthcare workers, the dire conditions at hospitals and medical facilities were risking the lives of patients and healthcare providers alike. These complaints were beginning to result in retaliation from their superiors.
The bill extends to all workers considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Essential” workers are considered people working for businesses allowed to operate during any pandemic-related restrictions enforced by the state government. Aside from healthcare workers, essential workers also include grocery store employees, bank workers, some restaurant workers, pharmacy workers and more.
If you believe your workplace has failed to implement proper safety measures to protect you and your fellow coworkers against the COVID-19 virus, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group to learn more about the steps you can take to hold your employer legally accountable.