WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS FOR NEW JERSEY EMPLOYEES
You might be a whistleblower if:
(a) You refuse to participate in an employment activity which you believe to be against the law;
(b) You refuse to participate in an employment activity which you believe to be in violation of your state’s public policy (violates some state statute, rule or regulation and endangers the public’s welfare and safety);
(c) You have complained to your supervisor or someone at the company about this illegal activity;
(d) You have threatened to complain or have complained to someone outside the company in a position of authority about the illegal activity.
In New Jersey, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) protects such whistleblowers against your employer, holding them liable for any negative employment action taken against you in response to your engaging in the protected activities listed above. An employer may not retaliate against you by suspending, demoting, firing or otherwise affecting the terms and conditions of your compensation or job rank. While most employee protection statutes apply only to those working for the company as a W-2 employee, CEPA also protects independent contractors (1099) who engaged in the protected activities. As an employee or independent contractor, you must follow the company’s procedure of reporting to your supervisor or other designated person, in writing, that you believe that some illegal activity is going on. This gives the company a reasonable opportunity to correct the problem. However, in certain fact specific emergency situations, this internal reporting may not be appropriate. The focus of the CEPA statute is to protect the protect employees who are acting in the best interests of the health and welfare of the state’s citizens. If you believe that you have engaged in some protected activity as described above and have suffered negative treatment at work because of it, contact an attorney to determine whether you have a claim as soon as possible as you have a limited time within which to file a claim to hold your employer or former employer accountable.