Female Whistleblower Praises New “Silenced No More Act” and Workplace Retaliation Reform that Take Effect on January 1st in CA & NY
Los Angeles, CA, Dec. 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Stephanie Van de Motter, a female whistleblower, and the first person to have won a whistleblowing judgment against The Irvine Company -- one of the most powerful real estate companies in America, is praising new legislation in California and New York that protects employees from workplace retaliation. The two new laws were signed in October 2021 and will take effect on January 1st, 2022.
Dubbed the Silenced No More Act, Senate Bill 331 was signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom. This new law will make it easier for workers to speak out about harassment and abuse in the workplace, even if they sign non-disclosure agreements.
New York’s Workplace Retaliation Reform legislation, S.4394-A/A.5144-A, signed by Governor Kathy Hochul, ensures that employees can speak out on dangerous or illegal business practices even if they were not acting within the scope of their job duties.
“Workers should not have to choose between their paycheck and their conscience,” said Van de Motter. “And these new whistleblower protection laws in California and New York mark a very important step in the right direction for 2022.”
“This long overdue legislation sets the framework to enable companies to develop new processes that keep the worker’s sense of safety and moral contribution at the center of the workplace,” continued Van de Motter. “Whistleblowers are crucial to stopping unethical and malicious behavior by those in power. It is hard enough to muster the courage to come forward.”
Van de Motter knows first-hand the challenges of reporting dangerous workplace conditions and its repercussions. She went up against The Irvine Company and its chairman and owner, Donald Bren, the most powerful real estate mogul in the U.S., with a net worth of $16.2 billion.
In 2014, Van de Motter worked as the property manager at The Irvine Company’s flagship high-rise at 1221 Ocean Ave in Santa Monica, which was home to numerous Hollywood celebrities, including Britney Spears, Larry David, Janet Jackson, David Foster, Alanis Morrisette, David E. Kelly, and Michelle Pfeiffer, Ciara Wilson, Ron Darling, Kate Beckinsale, Jalen Rose, Donna Summers, and others.
As the company was attempting to remediate systemic water intrusion and mold issues in the building, Van de Motter reported serious safety and code violations that endangered residents’ lives. The Irvine Company retaliated against Van de Motter and “constructively discharged” her from her position shortly after, ending her 16-year career with the company.
“I am excited for the millions of people who will be immensely helped by the forthcoming whistleblower protection laws in California and New York, however, we must remember that legislation alone will not fix the issue,” added Van de Motter. “Sexual harassment laws have been in place for decades, yet they did not prevent thousands of women from being sexually abused by powerful men. It took the #MeToo movement to ensure that these laws are finally enforced. As whistleblowers, we must work together and support one another as a community. Only then can we ensure that our protections are not only enacted on paper, but also enforced in real life.”
About Stephanie Van de Motter
Stephanie Van de Motter is the first person to have ever won a whistleblower judgment against The Irvine Company, the largest landowner in California, and its chairman, Donald Bren. For years she managed their star-studded flagship property at 1221 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. When she reportednumerous building and fire safety code violationsthat endangered residents’ lives, the company retaliated against her. Van de Motter lost her job, her career, and her peace of mind. She currently resides in Santa Monica, California.
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