1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001



After he was fired (around June of 2020) for complaining about his company’s COVID-related protocols, S. Lawler filed a “retaliatory discharge” case (pursuant to New York Labor Law § 740). And when his former employer tried to get the case dismissed, that effort was rebuffed by a Bronx County Supreme Court Justice.

On appeal, the Appellate Division, First Department, noted that prior to his termination, Lawler had objected to his employer’s failure to follow “social distancing” protocols and to it allowing unmasked individuals to enter the workplace. And because his pleading sufficiently asserted that his employer “violated various laws, rules or regulations” which governed workplace practices during the pandemic’s height, the AD1 thought that it rightfully withstood attack.

The AD1 also thought Lawler adequately pleaded that the employer’s disregard for the then-existing protocols and legal requirements caused "`a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety’ (Labor Law § 740[2][a]).”

The AD1 noted:

“It is hardly ‘mere speculation’ … that, early in the COVID-19 pandemic and before vaccines were available, permitting indoor congregation without masks and without practicing social distancing would have exposed defendant's employees (as well as their families and anyone else with whom they came in contact) to infection by a highly contagious and deadly virus.”

No masking their contempt for that employer there ….

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Lawlor v Wymbs, Inc.