Protecting Whistleblower’s Rights in Lambertville & Greater New Jersey
Whistleblowers perform a key service to society by bringing to light illegal activity. Unfortunately, whistleblowers also face tremendous blowback from their employers and can very easily lose their jobs. Although certain laws protect whistleblowing activity, some employers ignore those protections and demote or fire an employee.
At Zatuchni & Associates, we represent men and women who blow the whistle on illegal corporate or government conduct. Contact our firm to speak with a whistleblower attorney in New Jersey today.
New Jersey Protections for Whistleblower
Recognizing the important role that whistleblowers play in society, New Jersey has passed the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) to provide protection. Under this law, an employer cannot fire or take any adverse action against a whistleblower. Adverse action could be a demotion, refused promotion, cut in pay or benefits, or loss of training opportunities. If an employer takes any of these actions with a retaliatory motive, an employee can sue.
Bringing a claim under New Jersey law is easier said than done. There are many requirements, and anyone considering a claim should meet with a seasoned attorney who can shepherd them through the process.
- For example, to bring a successful CEPA claim, an employee must prove the following:
- The employee engaged in whistleblower activity. The statute identifies this activity as reporting conduct to a supervisor or public body, such as a governmental regulatory agency, or threatening to make a report. Refusing to participate in illegal activity is also protected activity.
- The employee reasonably believed the employer’s conduct was illegal. Essentially, you must have reasonably believed the conduct violated a law or regulation or clearly mandated public policy regarding health and safety. The law does not require that you be correct in your assessment, but your belief must be reasonable.
- Your employer took an adverse employment action. Discipline, demotion, termination, or other negative actions apply. Sometimes harassment that makes an employee feel unwelcome also qualifies as adverse.
- Your employer took adverse action because of your whistleblowing activity. This is called the causal connection—and it is hard to prove. Employers often claim there is no connection between your whistleblowing and termination and offer a pretextual reason instead. They might say you are often tardy or poor at your job. Some make rash allegations that you harass coworkers.
If you cannot prove all four elements, you cannot make a valid CEPA claim. An attorney is a big help in this type of case to ensure you have ample evidence of each element.
Federal Protections for Whistleblowers
New Jersey law is not the only source of whistleblower protection. Various federal statutes also provide key safeguards and rights, depending on the context:
- The Whistleblower Protection Act
- Whistleblower protections with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- The whistleblower program with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- The Dodd-Frank whistleblower regulations
- The False Claims Act
How a Lambertville Whistleblower Lawyer Can Help Your Case
When an employee blows the whistle, employers do not sit still. Instead, they typically contact their own legal teams and begin mapping a strategy for protecting their reputation and denying the charges. Often, they also plot on how to get rid of the whistleblower so as to instill fear in other employees.
Taking on a large company is never easy—especially after being fired, demoted, or denied other employment opportunities. Fortunately, Zatuchni & Associates can step in and protect your rights by:
- Listening to your story in a confidential setting
- Answering any questions you might have
- Analyzing whether you have a claim under New Jersey or federal whistleblower laws
If you choose to hire our firm, we can also:
- Request information or evidence from your employer
- Interview witnesses
- Answer any media requests to protect your privacy and reputation
- File administrative and other complaints
- Draft and file legal pleadings
- Negotiate with an employer for a possible settlement
Our results are impressive. In addition to settling claims privately, we have also obtained a $3.2 million verdict for a whistleblower who brought suit under New Jersey’s CEPA. Although we cannot guarantee any result, these results illustrate our commitment to our clients and deep knowledge of the law.
Speak with a Lambertville Whistleblower Lawyer Today
As an established New Jersey employment law firm, we regularly meet with clients who boldly stood up to blow the whistle on illegal activity only to face severe workplace consequences. Let us help you obtain justice. Zatuchni & Associates offers a free consultation to anyone who believes their rights have been violated. All communications with our firm are confidential.