When there is something unsafe or illegal going on at your company, you may want to bring it to someone’s attention. New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act provides workers with special protections if they have to make complaints about things going on in the company.
The “Whistleblower Act” prohibits retaliation in cases involving specific actions by employees. It’s imperative that you understand these provisions so that you’re aware of what you can and should do if you feel you have to file a complaint.
What is retaliation in the workforce?
Retaliation is any negative employment action that’s due to the complaint that you filed. This can include things like cutting your hours, demoting you or terminating you. It can also involve getting unfavorable hours or locations for work, as well as getting negative performance reviews when they aren’t warranted.
The key to employment actions being considered retaliatory is that they must be in response to the complaint you made. You still have to keep doing your job duties properly and following all the rules of the company. Negative employment actions that are due for a valid reason aren’t considered retaliation.
What else should you know about making a complaint?
In some cases, you have to alert the company to the issue before you file the complaint. This doesn’t happen when there is an emergency situation or if there is a valid reason to believe that at least one supervisor knows about the issue. The employer must designate one person to get written notifications, and the information for that person must be displayed in a conspicuous place.
When you do make a complaint, you must ensure that it is factual. You don’t have protections under the CEPA if the information you provide is false. You must never embellish facts or make anything seem different from what it actually is.
If you feel as though you’re a victim of retaliation who should be protected by CEPA, contact your attorney to find out what options you have. You might be able to take legal action against the employer if they did violate your rights.