Negative Whistle-Blower Expansion Bill Dies
The legislature’s Judiciary Committee took a positive step this week by not acting on a measure that would have inappropriately expanded Connecticut's whistle-blower law.
SB 263 would have significantly expanded employers' potential liability in whistle-blower cases without sufficiently protecting them from complaints improperly made by employees acting in bad faith.
The proposal aimed to expand Connecticut's whistle-blower law by allowing claims made by employees to their managers or supervisors within a company. State law now allows claims of alleged violations if they are made to public authorities.
But SB 263’s expansion of the whistle-blower law would have been problematic because it assumed that a manager or supervisor would have had sufficient knowledge in the area of law in which the violation was claimed to have occurred.
More appropriate is current law which requires a whistle-blower claim to be made to a public authority having sufficient knowledge and authority to determine whether there is enough evidence to substantiate the claim.
What’s more, the bill’s definitions of supervisor and manager were very broad, and could have been interpreted to include fellow co-workers who have certain leadership responsibilities.
The bill also significantly increased the damages potentially available to claimants. But this would have gone too far, especially considering how it expanded the ability to make claims but not necessarily in the most prudent way.
For more information, email Eric George.
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