South Jersey Employment Lawyers: Conscientious Employee Protection Act Keeps Whistleblowers SafeMarch 14, 2016
When companies defraud consumers or the government they may go to great lengths to keep their activities a secret. Employees are often the best source of information when it comes to this type of wrongdoing, but may fear the consequences of speaking out. The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, codified at N.J. Statute Section 34:19-1 (CEPA), provides whistleblowers with the protection they need.
According to South Jersey employment lawyers, CEPA covers a variety of illegal conduct, including misrepresentations made to investors, customers, patients and shareholders. Additionally, medical personnel may disclose instances of inferior care administered by a co-worker. Under the statute any employee who sheds light on a covered activity receives protection from retaliation. Such retaliation will often take the form of discrimination in the workplace, demotion, suspension, a denial of benefits or other adverse employment actions.
CEPA also protects employees who testify in court or before an administrative agency about wrongdoing they may have witnessed. An employee who has been asked by an employer to assist in illegal or deceptive activity may refuse, and invoke CEPA for protection. Employers are defined broadly by CEPA, and can consist of a partnership, an individual, a corporation or any other officer. Similarly, an employee is considered by the statute to be any individual who performs a service or function at the direction of an employer in exchange for pay or other benefits.
Before proceeding with a complaint about illicit activities covered by CEPA, an employer must first provide written notice of the basis of their claim to a supervisor, given the activities in question are not considered an emergency and the employee has reason to believe their supervisor is unaware of the problem. Employers are afforded the opportunity to correct the situation under the law. However, if an employee is retaliated against after making their good faith belief of wrongdoing known, a CEPA action must be brought within one year of the retaliation. Employees who prevail at trial could be entitled to compensatory damages, reimbursement of their attorneys’ fees, punitive damages and reinstatement to their previous job.
South Jersey Whistleblower Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Advise Clients on CEPA Actions
South Jersey employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates understand the anxiety that conscientious employees may feel when bringing allegations of wrongdoing to light. Fortunately, they are entitled to protection under CEPA. If you believe you have been retaliated against by an employer call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation in our Philadelphia offices, where we serve clients throughout New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania and New York.