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What is CEPA and how can you use it?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2020 | Blog |

If you are an employee at a New Jersey company and you are witness to certain legal violations or have knowledge of ways your company is illegally skirting the law, you may be able to seek protection under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA).

Similar to the federal Whistleblower Law, CEPA provides protections to the employee(s) from any retaliation by the company that employs them if the employee does certain things.

What actions are protected?

Below are some of the protected actions for employees:

  • Discloses an illegal activity, practice or policy of the business to a public body
  • Reveals actions that do not provide sufficient quality of patient care in the health care industry
  • Supplies information or testimony to a public entity conducting hearings, investigations or inquiries about illegal acts and violations
  • Reveals information about misrepresentation or deception to those affected by said deceptions or misrepresentations
  • Reveals fraudulent or criminal activities, practices or policies that could defraud affected parties
  • Refuses to participate in or objects to illegal and harmful violations or regulations that can compromise patient care or are otherwise criminal or fraudulent

While these are not the only protections provided under CEPA, they are some of the most common.

Obligation to disclose

However, in order to invoke the protections of CEPA against retaliation for disclosing information to a public entity, the worker must first have revealed the practice, policy or activity to their supervisor to allow them a reasonable chance to take corrective action(s).

That stipulation may be waived if the worker reasonably believes the practice, policy or activity is known by at least one person in a supervisory position within the organization or the employee is afraid that disclosing this information to supervisors could bring them physical harm and it is an emergency.

You don’t have to invoke CEPA on your own

There is no doubt that invoking CEPA in your workplace can be risky and open employees up to unpleasantness on the job. That can come from supervisors but workers should also be prepared for ostracism or worse from co-workers who perceive them to be needlessly rocking the boat.

Retaining a New Jersey attorney who is familiar with CEPA and whistleblowing can give you the confidence you need to take action and right egregious wrongs.