What Rights Does a Whistleblower Have in New Jersey?
Posted December 6th, 2023.
Many people know that the law protects employees from being discriminated for characteristics like race, sex, sexual orientation, gender, or religion. What you may not be aware of are the laws protecting employees from retaliation. Employers are forbidden from punishing employees in any way for unearthing the employer’s misdeeds. Among other things, employers cannot fire, demote, or deny an employee a raise or a transfer. Whistleblowing always has the potential to be nerve-wracking, particularly as you wonder how your employer might react. If you believe your concerns are coming true and your boss is retaliating against you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Camden County employment law attorney right away. Keep reading this blog to learn more about whistleblower protections in New Jersey.
New Jersey Whistleblower Laws You Should Know
New Jersey’s most extensive anti-retaliation legislation is known as the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, which we will examine later in this blog. In addition to Cepa, however, New Jersey has several similar statutes: the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), the New Jersey Wage & Hour Law (NJWHL), and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA).
Moreover, you may also have a claim against your employer for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. This is called a Pierce claim because it grew out of the New Jersey Supreme Court case Pierce v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp., 166 N.J. Super. 335 (1979). The clearest benefit of a Pierce claim, as opposed to CEPA, is that CEPA has a statute of limitations of one year while Pierce claims have a two-year statute of limitations.
The Conscientious Employee Protection Act in New Jersey
The Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) shields employees from a range of adverse consequences after they become whistleblowers. More specifically, CEPA contains a large list of protected activities that employees are allowed to do. One protected activity is objecting to or refusing to perform tasks the employee believes are illegal, fraudulent, or against public health, safety, or the environment. Another protected activity for employees is giving information to or testifying before a court when the court is investigating possible crimes by the employer. Finally, among other protections, CEPA ensures that licensed and certified healthcare providers can object to or refuse to do activities they believe lead to an inadequate kind of patient care.
CEPA also provides remedies for employees who have experienced retaliation, in the form of damages for lost wages and lost employee benefits, damages for emotional suffering, and punitive damages meant to punish particularly egregious wrongdoers. Depending on your circumstances, you might even be able to compel your employer to reinstate you and pay for your legal costs.
If you’ve been retaliated against as a whistleblower in New Jersey, please don’t hesitate to contact our firm today.