House Takes No Action on Whistleblower Bill, Strengthens Frivolous Lawsuit Protections
A bill exposing employers and municipalities to potentially unprecedented liability and compliance costs died this week when the state House failed to act before the General Assembly’s June 7 deadline.
SB 929 added protections for employees who refuse to take part in any activity they “reasonably believe” violates federal, state or municipal law, regulation or ordinance, or a court order.
No employer wants an employee disciplined or fired for doing the right thing and reporting potentially “illegal” conduct.
However, existing state law already addresses those situations.
The bill, which earlier passed the Senate, also had the potential to raise property taxes, according to a fiscal note that indicated it could increase a municipality’s exposure to lawsuits.
It extended from 90 to 180 days the time an employee may sue if discharged or disciplined in violation of the statute after exhausting all available administrative remedies.
And it sought to establish new penalties in civil actions for violations of the statute.
CBIA is pleased House lawmakers recognized current law strikes the right balance between protecting an employee from retaliation while also protecting an employer from baseless complaints.
SLAPP Bill Passes
The House unanimously approved SB 981, which protects citizens and businesses from being frivolously sued and establishes a special motion to dismiss in civil proceedings involving a strategic lawsuit against public participation, known as a SLAPP.
SLAPP proceedings are often baseless lawsuits that try to intimidate or silence those exercising their free-speech rights by burdening them with the threat of a costly legal defense.
This bill enables defendants to exercise their rights to resolve lawsuits efficiently and timely so they don’t waste time and money defending their rights.
The Senate unanimously approved SB 981 last week.
CBIA believes this legislation strikes the right balance for all parties.
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