Our New Jersey employment attorneys represent employees in whistleblower litigation throughout New Jersey.
New Jersey law encourages employees to report and avoid illegal activities. For this reason, New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act (also known as "CEPA" or New Jersey's “Whistleblower Law”) protects employees who disclose, object to, or refuse to participate in any policy, practice or conduct by their employer which they reasonably believe to violate a law, rule, or clear mandate of public policy concerning public health, safety or patient care, or which is fraudulent. New Jersey’s Whistleblower Law also protects contractors in some situations.
CEPA: New Jersey Whistleblower Law
New Jersey's whistleblower laws are among the strongest in the country. Under New Jersey employment law, an employer cannot take any retaliatory action against an employee for whistleblowing. McLaughlin & Nardi's New Jersey employment attorneys fight for the rights of employees who have been retaliated against for their blowing the whistle on illegal activity.
An employer cannot retaliate in any way against an employee disclosing or objecting to illegal activity. Prohibited retaliation includes firing, of course. However it is often much more subtle. Any retaliation is prohibited even if it is not obvious. For instance, courts have found that transfer, pay reductions, loss of overtime and undesirable assignments are prohibited is the reason is the employee’s disclosures or objections. Likewise, an employer cannot harass an employee for “blowing the whistle.”
Some, although not all, whistleblowing activity must be in writing. For instance, if an employee is going to make a complaint to a public body, she must first give her employer written notice so the employer can correct the problem, unless there is an emergency, the employee is reasonably certain that the practices are known to the employee's supervisors, or the employee reasonably fears physical harm.
Even where written notice is not required, however, it remains a good idea. Indeed, without a "paper trail" these cases can become "he said/she said" disputes. A paper trail greatly increases the chances of success.
In a successful New Jersey CEPA claim, an employee can recover the pay they have already lost and the pay they will lose in the future because of the retaliation. The employee may possibly also recover for emotional distress and punitive damages. Employees may also recover their costs of litigation and attorneys fees.
Additional New Jersey Whistleblower Protections
While CEPA is New Jersey's primary whistleblower protection, our New Jersey whistleblower attorneys pursue employees’ rights through many other laws as well, including these.
- Pierce Claims. The New Jersey Supreme Court held in the case of Pierce v. Ortho Pharmaceucticals that employers may not retaliate against employees who advance, protect or support state or federal rights, or blow the whistle on wrongdoing.
- False Claims Act. This allows an employee to file a claim if her employer is defrauding the federal government.
- Sarbanes Oxley. This law protects employees in publicly traded companies who report illegal accounting practices.
- Wage and Hour Retaliation. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who object that they or other employees were not getting paid earned wages.
- Workers Compensation Retaliation. Employers cannot retaliate against employees for filing workers compensation claims.
- Title VII and New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination. Both laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report or object to discrimination, or testified about discrimination.
- Qui Tam Actions. Whistleblowers can file suit against contractors who defraud the federal government and receive a portion of any recovery.
- Civil Service Laws. Public employers cannot retaliate against employees who report or object to civil service violations.
Government Employee Civil Rights Protection
Government employers cannot retaliate against their employees for exercising their First Amendment right to speak on matters of public concern. Our New Jersey whistleblower attorneys fight for the rights of public servants to be free from retaliation for exercising their right to free speech on matters of public concern.
Our New Jersey Whistleblower Attorneys Fight For Employee’s Rights
Our New Jersey whistleblower attorneys have handled many retaliation cases. Examples of our whistleblower cases include:
- Bergen County police lieutenant who objected to Chief's legal violations.
- Somerset County teacher who objected to inappropriate contact with student.
- Bergen Speech pathologist who was retaliated against for filing workers compensation claim.
- Paterson Payroll administrator who objected to tax violations.
- Ocean County Building inspectors who objected to mayor's interference with inspections of his friend's properties.
- Monmouth County public sector computer technician who objected to election programs irregularities.
- Essex County building superintendent who objected to unlicensed use of pesticides.
- Bergen County emergency medical technicians who objected to systemic payroll violations
- Paterson locksmiths retaliated against for objecting to being ordered to perform work for which they were not licensed.
- Ocean County utilizing employee retaliated against for objecting to fraudulent billing practices.
- Hudson County school employee retaliated against for exercising free speech rights and objecting to various legal violations.
- Hudson County maintenance worker who was retaliated against for objecting to discrimination against co-workers.Hudson County hotel manager retaliated against because of objecting to discrimination and harassment against co-workers.
- Essex County energy company manager retaliated against for objecting to submission of false or misleading information to government agency.
- Clifton school employees whose objections about failure to pay overtime and retirement plan illegalities prompted retaliation.
- Mercer County medical industry executive retaliated against because of objecting the employers’ United States Federal Drug Administration regulation violations.
- Morris County emergency medical technicians who objected to violation of New Jersey regulations brought about their retaliatory firing.
- Essex County retail worker fired because she reported manager’s sexual harassment.
- Hudson County medical industry manager whose objections to HIPPA violations prompted retaliation.
If you believe that you have been retaliated against because of your whistleblowing, or disclosures or objections to illegal activity, please e-mail us or contact one of our experienced New Jersey employment activities at (973) 890-0004.