In New Jersey, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) protects employees who report illegal activities in the workplace from discrimination by their employers. Under this statute, employers who take retaliatory action against whistleblower employees can be held legally liable. Filing a complaint against an employer can be both stressful and frightening because despite the prohibition against it, many employers still take adverse actions against protected workers. If you or a loved one recently filed an official complaint about your employer and you were fired or demoted as a result, it is critical to contact an experienced New Jersey complex civil litigation attorney who can help protect your interests.
According to CEPA, employers are not permitted to take adverse actions against an employee because he or she:
- Disclosed or threatened to disclose an activity, practice or policy of the employer that the employee reasonably believes is unlawful, criminal, or fraudulent, regardless of whether the disclosure was made to a supervisor or a public body;
- Testified before a public body that is conducting an investigation or inquiry into an employer’s violation; or,
- Objected to an activity or policy that an employee reasonably believes is incompatible with public policy regarding the protection of the environment or public health or safety.
To be protected under CEPA, an employee who provides information to a public body must first inform a supervisor of the violation in writing and allow the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct it. There are only two exceptions to this requirement:
- An employee is reasonably certain that a supervisor is aware of the violation; or,
- The employee reasonably fears physical harm in retaliation and the situation qualifies as an emergency.
Employees who take these actions are protected from:
- Wrongful discharge;
- Transfer; and,
- Retaliatory harassment, including intimidating or hostile conduct.
When a plaintiff can establish that CEPA has been violated, he or she may be able to collect both compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees. In some cases, employees can earn the right to be reinstated or to receive back pay.
Contact the Kridel Law Group today to discover how a complex civil litigation attorney can help
If you are a resident of New Jersey and have concerns about your employer’s business practices, including unsafe working conditions or wage and hour violations, please contact the Kridel Law Group at (973) 470-0800 to schedule a consultation with a dedicated attorney who can explain your legal options.