Described as the most widely applicable whistleblower statute in the country, New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) is meant to defend employees should they report any wrongdoing or unlawful activities by the employer or another coworker.  Employees are also protected from retaliation if they object to the wrongdoing or refuse to take part in what they reasonably believe to be unlawful. 

The CEPA protects the employee from any retaliation from the employer should the employer or coworker engage in any of the following whistleblower actions:

  • Revealing to a federal, state, or local authority or supervisor that they have a reasonable belief of any unlawful act or violation of any regulation committed by the employer or coworker.  
  • Testifying or disclosing information to an investigative body such as the government or an agency inquiring about any wrongdoing or unlawful violations. 
  • Refusing to participate in any action that he or she reasonably believes to be a wrongdoing, unlawful, or violation of any rule or regulation. 

The CEPA forbids any retaliatory acts, including wrongful termination, demotion, harassment or suspension, or withholding of wages, toward any employee who reports an illegal or unlawful activity. 

Types of Wrongdoings a Whistleblower Can Disclose

The violations disclosed to the authority entity can vary by industry.  For example, a medical worker can be a whistleblower because of reporting malpractice or illegal patient care, whereas a financial advisor can disclose embezzlement violations. 

Generally, a worker may uncover illegal practices, such as improper wages or fraudulent hour practices or wage discrimination, that they can report to the proper authorities.  There are also claims to report of sexual harassment or improper hiring, hostile work environments, even workplace assault or safety violations. 

If You Suspect Wrongdoing at Your Work

The CEPA protects almost every employee in the state of New Jersey.  Every company should offer CEPA information or have it readily available to each employee should they decide to report any wrongdoing.  If you suspect wrongdoing at your work, contact your supervisor or human resources department and ask about their CEPA process.  It may benefit you in contacting a reputable employment lawyer as well. 

If you do file a claim, the company you work for may act on your claim, investigate the matter, and reach a resolution.  However, should the company not act, you have the right to file a New Jersey lawsuit.  Once filed, the state will review the claim and may or may not prosecute the case. 

Should the state participate or not participate in the matter, the whistleblower still has the right to pursue the lawsuit.  The damages to recover will likely vary, but there is no legal limit that can be rewarded to the plaintiff.  These may include:

  • Lost pay and benefits
  • Punitive damages
  • Legal fees
  • Back pay and front pay
  • Reinstatement to previous position and benefits

An employment lawyer who understands CEPA lawsuits can help you if you believe there is wrongdoing at your job, or you had notified authorities about your company’s unlawful practices.  They can help you navigate the case and go over each detail, as proceeding alone without legal expertise in any whistleblower case will likely not go in your favor. 

Marlton Employment Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Help Protect Whistleblowers from Retaliation

It is in your best interest to have the most knowledgeable and experienced legal team at your side in any whistleblower claim.  If you are being retaliated against, reach out to the Marlton employment lawyers at Burnham Douglass.  We will advise you of your options and fight to protect your rights. Contact us online or call us at 856-751-5505 for a free consultation. We are located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, and Mercer County.