Whistleblower Retaliation Lawyer

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New Jersey Whistleblower Retaliation Attorney

New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act: Outlawing Retaliation Against Whistleblowers:

New Jersey’s anti-retaliation law— the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, also referred to as CEPA—is one of the strongest laws in the nation when it comes to protecting the rights of whistleblowers.  CEPA prohibits employers from disciplining, demoting, or terminating an employee because he or she has either (1) reported an employer’s unlawful conduct to a state or federal agency or (2) objected to or refused to participate in what the employee reasonably believes is the employer’s unlawful conduct.

We appreciate that it is not easy to be a whistleblower. Whistleblowers should be rewarded for their courage, not punished for it. Although there should be incentives for reporting an employer’s fraud, unlawful conduct or endangering the public health, employers will often retaliate against an employee who calls out their misconduct.

What Is a Protected Activity under CEPA?

CEPA prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees who engage in protected activities. But what exactly are protected activities? Protected activities under CEPA include opposing conduct that you reasonably believe is (a) in violation of a law, rule, or regulation promulgated pursuant to law;  (b) is fraudulent or criminal; or (c) is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy.

When you report what you believe is your employer’s unlawful conduct, New Jersey courts have made clear that, although you may have ultimately been mistaken about whether that conduct actually violated some law, rule, or regulation, CEPA still protects you as long as you had a reasonable belief that that the conduct was unlawful.

It is important to understand that not all complaints about an employer’s misconduct will be found to be “protected activity” under CEPA.  For this reason, among others, if you are thinking about objecting to or refusing to participate in an employer’s conduct, you should consult with an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer.

What Is an Adverse Action?

CEPA makes it unlawful for an employer to take “adverse action” against an employee who has acted as a whistleblower or otherwise refused to go along with an employer’s unlawful conduct. An adverse action is something an employer does to keep an employee from opposing an illegal or discriminatory practice. If a reasonable person would be deterred by the employer’s “adverse action,” the court would find this to be unlawful retaliation.

The following list includes some possible adverse actions:

  • Termination
  • Transfer or reassignment to more difficult duties
  • Denial of promotion
  • Loss of benefits
  • Refusal to hire
  • Threats of termination or demotion
  • Increased surveillance of an employee’s performance

Keep in mind: not all offensive comments by an employer are “adverse actions.” Just because your boss annoys you or makes petty or negative comments, does not mean the court would define the behavior as adverse.

Contact New Jersey Workplace Retaliation Lawyer, Patricia Barasch, Today

Attorney Patricia Barasch has more than 30 years of legal experience representing New Jersey employees. If you believe you’ve been subjected to workplace retaliation and would like advice, guidance, and strategy for how to deal with it, we can help.

We recommend completing our online contact form so we can get started on evaluating your case. We will review your contact form and do our best to get back to you within 24 hours.

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