Except for the exemptions specified in subdivision j of section 27-371 of the administrative code or chapter 10 of the New York city building code, as applicable, it shall be unlawful for an employer or the agent of an employer to lock the doors of a workplace or otherwise obstruct or prohibit exit from a workplace when such act may endanger the health or safety of any employee, independent contractor or other individual in such workplace in the event of a fire or other hazardous condition or event. The commissioner shall classify a violation of this section as an immediately hazardous violation. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, upon criminal conviction or civil adjudication of liability for a violation of this section an additional fine or civil penalty of not less than five thousand dollars nor more than twenty thousand dollars shall be imposed for each employee, independent contractor or other individual endangered by a violation of this section.
A sign shall be posted conspicuously at the workplace of a person convicted of or found liable for a violation of section 28-307.1. Such sign shall, in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese or any other language directed by the fire commissioner, provide notice to employees of the acts prohibited by section 28-307.1 and of the remedies for employer retaliation as set forth in section 28-307.3. The sign shall be in a form and posted in a manner directed by the fire commissioner and may contain any other information deemed necessary by the fire commissioner or as recommended by the police commissioner or the commissioner. The fire commissioner may, in the interest of public safety, adopt a rule requiring the posting of such signs at other workplaces.
In addition to any other inspections required by law or rule, the fire department shall conduct a minimum of fifty unannounced workplace inspections annually to ensure the identification and abatement of any hazardous conditions in violation of section 28-307.1. Such inspections shall include, but not be limited to, sites where there are known or suspected conditions affecting employee safety and health.
It shall be unlawful for an employer or the agent of such employer to take a retaliatory action, as defined by section 740 of the labor law, against an employee because of the lawful acts of such employee in furtherance of a civil or criminal enforcement proceeding arising out of the failure of such employer or agent to comply with section 28-307.1 An employee who is the victim of such retaliatory action may commence an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for the relief provided for in this section and shall be entitled to all relief necessary to make such employee whole. Lawful acts of an employee shall include, but not be limited to, assisting in the investigation and initiation of an enforcement proceeding alleging a violation of section 28-307.1, providing testimony in any such proceeding or providing other assistance in connection therewith. The relief to which such employee shall be entitled shall include, but not be limited to, (i) an injunction to restrain any adverse or retaliatory action, (ii) reinstatement to the position such officer or employee would have had but for such action, or to an equivalent position, (iii) reinstatement of full benefits and seniority rights including payment of any missed back pay, plus interest and (iv) compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of such action, including litigation costs and reasonable attorneys' fees.