1. For the purposes of this section the term:
(a) “Public employer” or “employer” shall mean (i) the state of New York, (ii) a county, city, town, village or any other political subdivision or civil division of the state, (iii) a school district or any governmental entity operating a public school, college or university, (iv) a public improvement or special district, (v) a public authority, commission or public benefit corporation, or (vi) any other public corporation, agency, instrumentality or unit of government which exercises governmental power under the laws of the state.
(b) “Public employee” or “employee” shall mean any person holding a position by appointment or employment in the service of a public employer except judges or justices of the unified court system and members of the legislature.
(c) “Governmental body” shall mean (i) an officer, employee, agency, department, division, bureau, board, commission, council, authority or other body of a public employer, (ii) employee, committee, member, or commission of the legislative branch of government, (iii) a representative, member or employee of a legislative body of a county, town, village or any other political subdivision or civil division of the state, (iv) a law enforcement agency or any member or employee of a law enforcement agency, or (v) the judiciary or any employee of the judiciary.
(d) “Personnel action” shall mean an action affecting compensation, appointment, promotion, transfer, assignment, reassignment, reinstatement or evaluation of performance.
2. (a) A public employer shall not dismiss or take other disciplinary or other adverse personnel action against a public employee regarding the employee's employment because the employee discloses to a governmental body information: (i) regarding a violation of a law, rule or regulation which violation creates and presents a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety; or (ii) which the employee reasonably believes to be true and reasonably believes constitutes an improper governmental action. “Improper governmental action” shall mean any action by a public employer or employee, or an agent of such employer or employee, which is undertaken in the performance of such agent's official duties, whether or not such action is within the scope of his employment, and which is in violation of any federal, state or local law, rule or regulation.
(b) Repealed by L.2015, c. 585, § 2, eff. Dec. 28, 2015 .
3. (a) Where an employee is subject to dismissal or other disciplinary action under a final and binding arbitration provision, or other disciplinary procedure contained in a collectively negotiated agreement, or under section seventy-five of this title or any other provision of state or local law and the employee reasonably believes dismissal or other disciplinary action would not have been taken but for the conduct protected under subdivision two of this section, he or she may assert such as a defense before the designated arbitrator or hearing officer. The merits of such defense shall be considered and determined as part of the arbitration award or hearing officer decision of the matter. If there is a finding that the dismissal or other disciplinary action is based solely on a violation by the employer of such subdivision, the arbitrator or hearing officer shall dismiss or recommend dismissal of the disciplinary proceeding, as appropriate, and, if appropriate, reinstate the employee with back pay, and, in the case of an arbitration procedure, may take other appropriate action as is permitted in the collectively negotiated agreement.
(b) Where an employee is subject to a collectively negotiated agreement which contains provisions preventing an employer from taking adverse personnel actions and which contains a final and binding arbitration provision to resolve alleged violations of such provisions of the agreement and the employee reasonably believes that such personnel action would not have been taken but for the conduct protected under subdivision two of this section, he or she may assert such as a claim before the arbitrator. The arbitrator shall consider such claim and determine its merits and shall, if a determination is made that such adverse personnel action is based on a violation by the employer of such subdivision, take such action to remedy the violation as is permitted by the collectively negotiated agreement.
(c) Where an employee is not subject to any of the provisions of paragraph (a) or (b) of this subdivision, the employee may commence an action in a court of competent jurisdiction under the same terms and conditions as set forth in article twenty-C of the labor law.
4. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to diminish or impair the rights of a public employee or employer under any law, rule, regulation or collectively negotiated agreement or to prohibit any personnel action which otherwise would have been taken regardless of any disclosure of information.
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