New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act
An employee who witnesses a violation of laws or regulations on the job has a right to report that violation to government entities or supervisors in New Jersey. The Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) is a state law that protects whistleblowers from retaliation for bringing unlawful actions to light. A worker who suffers retaliation is entitled to relief, including unlimited back pay, front pay, pain and suffering damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.
New Jersey CEPA Lawyer
Dedicated employment attorneys from Console Mattiacci Law, LLC brought the first successful lawsuit for a claim under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act ever. In 2013, Console Mattiacci Law, LLC won a $1.678 million unanimous jury verdict for a whistleblower under the New Jersey CEPA law. We believe our experience makes us uniquely positioned to obtain significant results for workers who believe they are being, or have been, retaliated against for blowing the whistle.
Our attorneys have been recognized in our field for our dedication to our clients and our skill at representing them. If you believe that illegal activity or conduct against public policy is occurring at your workplace, it is important you speak with an attorney as soon as possible so that you fully understand your rights. Arrange for a consultation with a New Jersey CEPA lawyer today by calling 215-545-7676.
We have an office in Moorestown, New Jersey and represent people throughout the state, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Atlantic County, Ocean County and the Trenton area.
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Reporting Violations of the Law on the Job in New Jersey
CEPA forms a right for employees to be free from retaliation for engaging in a number of acts that are commonly referred to as “whistleblowing.” Under N.J.S.A. § 34:19-3, they may include:
- Disclosing to virtually any federal, New Jersey or local authority, a supervisor, or another with which the whistleblower’s employer has a business relationship that the whistleblower has a reasonable belief of a violation of law, rule or regulation by the employer, including any violation involving deception of or misrepresentation to a shareholder, investor, client, customer, patient, retiree, pensioner or former employee;
- For health care provider employees, disclosing a reasonable belief of improper patient care to any of the above;
- Disclosing to any of the above-mentioned entities any activity, policy or practice that the whistleblower has a reasonable belief to be fraudulent or criminal;
- Providing information to or testifying to any governmental body or agency conducting a hearing or investigation about any potential violation; or
- Objecting to or refusing to participate in any activity that he or she reasonably believes to be in violation of a law, regulation or rule.
A key element is “reasonable belief.” An employee can report or refuse to participate in any activity he or she believes to be unlawful, regardless of whether or not it actually is. The belief must be reasonable.
Retaliation means any adverse employment decision. It can include termination, suspension, demotion, harassment, or a negative change in work circumstances.
For instance, if an employee reports a perceived violation of the law to a regulatory agency and is fired, he or she may have a claim for retaliation. If you believe that fraud upon the government is occurring, including but not limited to Medicare fraud or fraud in government contracts, it is very important you speak to an experienced CEPA attorney immediately. There are very short deadlines associated with these claims.
Damages in a New Jersey Whistleblower Retaliation Case
For monetary damages, the plaintiff in a CEPA case may receive compensation for lost pay and benefits, as well as mental distress damages. He or she can win costs for the suit and attorney’s fees. Additionally, in some cases, punitive damages, which are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter them from any similar action in the future are available when the employer has acted especially egregiously and/or outrageously. The amount of damages available under CEPA are not capped by statute. The jury is free to award whatever amount they believe is fair.
Additionally, the employee may seek injunctive relief under N.J.S.A. § 34:19-5. The court can require the employer to rehire the whistleblower in his or her old position or an equivalent, or restore the whistleblower to his or her position or equivalent.
Finding A New Jersey Attorney to Redress Whistleblower Retaliation
If you have suffered retaliation in the workplace after you reported what you believed to be a violation of a law, regulation or rule to a government authority or to a supervisor, you may have a claim for damages and/or to be reinstated. At Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, we have represented New Jersey employees on landmark litigation on the Conscientious Employee Protection Act. Call us today at 215-545-7676 to set up a consultation.