One of the most difficult experiences to navigate as an employee is how to respond when you become aware of illegal activity taking place within your company. New Jersey employees who choose to come forward and report offenses to the proper investigative agencies are offered several protections as part of the state’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act. An understanding of these statutes can help an employee plan his or her next move if such an action is needed.
Most states offer similar protections to whistleblower employees. New Jersey’s laws cover the common protections against being fired or adversely reassigned for whistleblowing, and also prohibits employers and fellow employees from treating a whistleblower with discrimination or hostility because of reporting wrongdoing.
There are, however, some guidelines in place for employees who are considering whistleblowing. The law indicates that whistleblowers must alert a person in a position of authority above them in the company to the violations, and give the employer an opportunity to make the situation right. The exception to this is if doing so places the employee at risk of being physically harmed, or if the violations present some form of emergency.
A whistleblower in New Jersey is allowed to file a report up to a year after the occurrence of the violation, is eligible to be fully reinstated in his or her position and receive any applicable benefits or back pay, as well as legal fees and punitive damages related to the case.
If you are considering reporting a wrongdoing on the part of your employer, it is vital to protect yourself. Among the few people that you should consult, it is vital to enlist the help of an attorney who can assist you in navigating this tricky area, in order to keep you above reproach in the process and protect your rights.
Source: FindLaw, “New Jersey Whistleblower Laws,” accessed Dec. 22, 2016