Whistle-Blower Protections & Law
The New Jersey Supreme Court has called the State’s whistle–blower law the “most far–reaching statute” in the country. The law makes it illegal for an employer to take retaliatory action against an employee for:
- Reporting an action he or she believes to be illegal or unethical, or unhealthy or unsafe for the public or the environment;
- Cooperating in any investigation of such violations; or
- Refusing to participate in activities the employee feels are unlawful, fraudulent or in violation of policies regarding the health and safety of the public or environmental protection.
Retaliatory actions can include denial of benefits or job opportunities as well as dismissal.
Employees do not have to prove that their employers actually committed an illegal or unethical activity, but they do have to show they had “reasonable belief” that such an activity occurred.
Workers who do experience retaliatory actions because they “blew the whistle” may be able to recover damages. In order for an employee to be protected under CEPA, he or she first has to report the suspected wrongdoing to a supervisor and give their employer a reasonable amount of time to correct the situation. There are exceptions to this if the employee believes that the supervisor already knows about problems or if he or she fears physical retaliation for filing the report.
CEPA has specific protections for certified or licensed health care workers who report activities, testify or refuse to carry out practices they believe would amount to poor patient care quality.
If you witness unlawful or unethical practices in the workplace and want to report them, you should be aware of the proper procedure for doing so as well as your rights under CEPA. To help you fully understand the process, you may want to seek out the services of an experienced attorney. If you have experienced retaliatory action for blowing the whistle, contact Kearns Rotolo Law. Protect your rights. Call Kearns Rotolo Law today.