A whistleblower is an employee who discloses information regarding perceived illegal activities or corruption within an organization. This employee believes that the perceived illegal activity could cause an unsafe work environment or other public health and safety issues. If you fit this description, you may benefit from speaking with a NJ whistleblower lawyer, David H. Kaplan.
What is a Whistleblower?
Whistleblower Protection Act
In New Jersey, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) is the general whistleblower protection statute. It seeks to protect employees from retaliation by employers through loss of benefits, dismissal or other unfair treatment.
The protection does not apply unless the employee has given written notice of the violation to a supervisor and allotted a reasonable amount of time time for correction, except if the employee reasonably fears physical harm and the situation is an emergency. An employee making a CEPA claim must establish that they had a reasonable belief that the employer’s/organization’s conduct was illegal or violated public policy, rather than a misjudgment by the employer.
Types of Whistleblowers
There are various categories of whistleblowers:
- INTERNAL WHISTLEBLOWERS – They disclose information regarding wrong doings of an employee, employer or a senior within the organization.
- EXTERNAL WHISTLEBLOWING – They disclose information of misdoings in an organization to outside people or entities e.g. media and law enforcement agencies.
- THIRD PARTY WHISTLEBLOWER – They use an external party to inform employers or management team of misconduct within the organization. Third party whistleblowing aims at hiding the identity of whistleblowers.
PRIVATE SECTOR WHISTLEBLOWER – Reveal information of misconduct within the private sector.
PUBLIC SECTOR WHISTLEBLOWER – Disclose information on misconduct in the government.
Filing a Whistleblower Lawsuit
Different whistleblower lawsuits fall under different laws and Acts. As such, it is important to identify the appropriate court to file the lawsuit. Filing must be within 1 year of the retaliation act as provided for in the Conscientious Employee Protection Act.
It is important to contract an attorney who will guide you in filing the lawsuit and through the trial. An employee is eligible to recoverable damages such as reinstatement, recovery of lost wages and benefits and compensation rewards.
Whistleblowing Victimization and Retaliation
Whistleblowers disclose information about unfair/unsafe practices at the risk of victimization and retaliation leading to stress and emotional trauma. Other than the risk of losing their jobs, whistleblowers face the potential of segregation and discrimination by other employees causing isolation and loneliness. The Whistleblower Protection Act aims to shield whistleblowers from the impact of victimization.
If you feel you may have a claim against an employer for retaliation after a whistleblower claim, contact NJ whistleblower lawyer David Kaplan to protect your civil rights.