The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, N.J.S.A. §§ 34:19-1 – 34:19-8 (“NJ CEPA”), prohibits all public and private employers from retaliating against employees who disclose, object to, or refuse to participate in certain actions that the employees reasonably believe are either illegal or in violation of public policy.
More particularly, the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act bars all employers from retaliating against an employee because the employee does any of the following:
N.J.S.A. §§ 34:19-3, 34:19-3(a), 34:19-3(b), 34:19-3(c); see id. § 34:19-2.
To state a prima facie case under CEPA, a plaintiff must establish that: “(1) he or she reasonably believed that his or her employer’s conduct was violating either a law, rule, or regulation promulgated pursuant to law, or a clear mandate of public policy; (2) he or she performed a “whistle-blowing” activity described in [NJ CEPA]; (3) an adverse employment action was taken against him or her; and (4) a causal connection exists between the whistle-blowing activity and the adverse employment action.” Dzwonar v. McDevitt, 828 A.2d 893, 177 N.J. 451, 462 (N.J. 2003); accord Turner v. Associated Humane Societies, Inc., 935 A.2d 825, 831, 396 N.J. Super. 582 (N.J. App. Div. 2007).
An employee or former employee may maintain a civil action under NJ CEPA in any court of competent jurisdiction. N.J.S.A. § 34:19-5.
The full array of tort damages is available to an employee in a NJ CEPA action, including injunctive relief, reinstatement of a former employee to the same position or to an equivalent position, damages for emotional distress, reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority rights, compensation for lost wages and benefits, punitive damages, and recoupment of reasonable costs and attorney’s fees. N.J.S.A. § 34:19-5.
If your company needs assistance or guidance on a labor and employment issue and your company is located in the Manhattan City area, call Attorney David S. Rich at (347) 941-0760.
David S. Rich is the founding member of the Law Offices of David S. Rich, LLC,
a Manhattan Employment and Business Litigation Law Firm, in New
York City and in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey...View Profile