A Queens assemblyman is trying to protect small businesses from what he calls unscrupulous food inspectors.
Assemblyman Ron Kim says he will soon introduce the Restaurant Owner Whistleblower Protection Act.
He says the Department of Health currently lacks the oversight needed to prevent food inspectors from abusing their powers.
Many small businesses and restaurant owners, he says, suffer from the current process because food inspectors are often not held accountable for inappropriate behavior. He says that includes things like breaking the inspection schedule or giving unfair grades using improper grading standards.
"The inconsistent standards of how health inspectors come in and inspect their restaurants and these are fines that can get up to $1,000, $5,000, $10,000," said Kim.
The bill would create an oversight body to receive and respond to anonymous complaints about health inspectors. It would also provide the option for restaurants to refuse an inspection up front and reschedule up to three times by paying a fee.
The city's Health Department says it will review the bill, but a spokesperson says business owners can currently submit any complaints about the inspection process anonymously by calling 311.