March 16, 2022
Do I Have a New Jersey Whistleblower Claim?
The law generally allows employers to terminate employees at will, though there are important exceptions. One exception is the termination of employment because an employee reported unlawful conduct of the employer – or they “blew the whistle.” If you were fired because you complained about or reported wrongful conduct of your employer, you have the right to take legal action. Reach out to a law firm that handles whistleblower cases right away.
Legal Protections for Whistleblowers in New Jersey
The New Jersey legislature enforces statutes that protect employees regarding certain activities, including whistleblowing. The main statute that applies is the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), which prohibits retaliation against employees who object to something at work that they reasonably believe was:
- In violation of the law or a regulation
- Criminal or fraudulent
- Inconsistent with public health, safety, or environmental standards
In addition, other employment laws have provisions preventing retaliation for reporting other unlawful conduct. This includes reporting wage violations, discrimination or harassment, workers’ compensation violations, and more. Collective bargaining agreements also often contain whistleblower protections if this applies to your organization.
The New Jersey False Claims Act applies when an employee reports a violation that defrauds the state in some way. There is also a federal False Claims Act that applies when an employer defrauds the federal government. Reports under these laws can lead to “qui tam” actions, which allow an employee to recover a portion of the financial recovery from the employer.
If you believe that you have a report of unlawful conduct of your employer, reach out to a whistleblower attorney to discuss your options.
Common Whistleblower Reports
Whistleblowing can involve many different employer violations, including:
- Discrimination or harassment
- Denial of qualified family and medical leave
- Failing to protect a job during family and medical leave
- Workplace health and safety violations
- Employers asking employees to engage in illegal conduct
- SEC violations
- Healthcare fraud
- Denial of workers’ compensation
- Wage and hour violations or wage theft
Anytime an employee believes that their employer violated the law, they have the right to report the matter – either internally (if they feel comfortable doing so) or externally to the proper authorities.
Retaliation Against Whistleblowers
Despite all the whistleblower protections that exist, employers continue to retaliate against people who report unlawful conduct. After bravely coming forward to improve the work environment or protect consumers from employer misconduct, employees might experience:
- Disciplinary action
- Poor performance reviews
- Demotion or refusal of a promotion
- Refusal of pay increases
- Reduction of hours
You do not have to be fired to have rights under whistleblower laws, and if you experienced any adverse action from your employer, you should learn about your legal rights as soon as possible.
Speak with a New Jersey Whistleblower Attorney Today
The legal team of Varcadipane & Pinnisi, PC, represents New Jersey employees who do the right thing and come forward with whistleblowing reports. If you need legal assistance, please contact us for a consultation so we can assess the best options in your case.