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Lesson Learned: Reporting Violations at Work

Battaglia v. UPSNew Jersey Supreme Court, September 2011Male hand showing a business cardAn employee sued for retaliation in violation of the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) and the Law Against Discrimination (LAD) when he was demoted and became depressed and missed 5 months of work.  He alleges that he was demoted because he had complained to HR that his supervisor was making inappropriate and derogatory comments about women.  The CEPA claim, which was dismissed, was based upon the employee’s complaint that numerous other employees were using company credit cards to pay for and drink alcohol at lunch.  That claim was dismissed as the employee didn’t provide enough factual evidence that he had complained about this behavior with enough specificity.The Supreme Court held that the LAD protects employees who make the complaint in a good faith belief that the conduct violates the LAD and then suffers retaliation.  The Supreme Court explains that the LAD was enacted to protect not only the civil rights of individual aggrieved employees but also to protect the public’s strong interest in a discrimination-free workplace.Lessons learned:
  1. Make sure that your complaint is sufficient specific as to the law or public policy being violated but also the facts, people, witnesses etc. involved.
  2. Make sure you have well documented proof of the violations that you can rely on to prove your case in court.

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