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Retaliation and Whistleblowing

Respected New Jersey Law Firm Protects Rights of Whistleblowers

Determined Hackensack lawyers uphold employees’ rights against retaliation

It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for exercising protected rights and complaining about discrimination. Unfortunately, this legal protection does not always prevent employers from unlawfully terminating or demoting employees. If you encounter retaliation for whistleblowing or another protected activity (such as complaining about discrimination), the experienced employment retaliation attorneys of Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack can help. We are one of New Jersey’s largest plaintiff-side employment law firms. Each of our partners has more than 30 years of experience in employment matters, and we have secured compensation and injunctive relief for many victims of unlawful retaliation.

Trusted attorneys advise clients on NJ whistleblower retaliation protections

The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) offers generalized protection against employer retaliation. CEPA is meant to stop an employer from retaliating against an employee who does any of the following:

  • Discloses or threatens to disclose an employer activity, policy or practice he or she believes to be in violation of the law or fraudulent
  • Cooperates with an investigation, hearing or inquiry into a potential violation of the law by an employer or another entity with whom the employer has a business relationship
  • In some circumstances, provides information to a government entity about any fraud committed by the employer
  • Provides information about an employer activity, policy or practice that is perceived to be criminal or fraudulent
  • Objects to, or refuses to participate in, any employer activity, policy or practice he or she reasonably believes to be unlawful, fraudulent, criminal or against a clear mandate of public policy

CEPA also provides protections for licensed and certified health care professionals who draw attention to improper quality of care, cooperate with an inquiry regarding quality of patient care or object to employer activities that may reasonably constitute improper quality of care. Furthermore, whistleblower protections are afforded to employees who report possible unlawful activity of an entity with whom the employer has a business relationship.

An employee who makes a disclosure to a governmental agency is only protected by CEPA if he or she first brings the concern to a workplace supervisor in writing and gives the employer reasonable time to respond and take corrective action. Exceptions to this rule are made if the employee reasonably believes that at least one supervisor is already aware of the activity, or if the worker fears disclosure would create a risk of physical harm.

A CEPA lawsuit must be filed within one year of an employer’s retaliatory action. Our attorneys can help you file your retaliation claim and seek legal remedies such as job reinstatement, back pay and restored benefits. In severe cases, a plaintiff can collect punitive damages.

Knowledgeable advisers outline additional federal and state protections

Several laws and court rulings have established protections for New Jersey employees whose cases do not fit into the confines of CEPA. You may be able to pursue justice on grounds related to one of the following:

  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act — Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, publicly traded companies are banned from retaliating against employees who report fraudulent financial accounting.
  • Title VII and New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination — These laws make it illegal for employers to base employment decisions on characteristics such as gender, race or religion.
  • Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) — The CSRA was enacted to prevent government agencies from retaliating against federal employees who report unlawful practices or abuse of power.
  • Pierce claim — A Pierce claim, or common law retaliation claim, may be filed by an employee who is fired in a clear violation of public policy.
  • Wage and hour retaliation — A New Jersey employer may not retaliate against an employee who asks for the payment they earned or who informs another employee of their wage and hour rights.
  • Workers’ compensation retaliation — It is illegal to take adverse action against an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim.
  • False Claims Act (FCA) — The FCA allows the U.S. government to collect triple damages plus a penalty from any entity that has defrauded the government, such as through Medicare fraud or tax fraud.
  • Qui tam actions — In a qui tam action, a private whistleblower files a fraud lawsuit on behalf of the government under the False Claims Act. If the plaintiff succeeds, he or she shares the award with the U.S. government.

We can help you determine the best path forward for reporting misbehavior and pursuing a retaliation claim.

Contact skilled New Jersey employment retaliation lawyers to discuss your claim

The attorneys of Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack, New Jersey help workplace retaliation victims pursue legal remedies. To schedule a confidential consultation with a supportive lawyer, call 551-245-8894 or contact us online. We also have offices in Rockland County and Manhattan.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch
Retired

About Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey’s premier practitioners of employment and civil litigation. He has been selected to the New Jersey Super Lawyers prestigious list every year since 2005.  This honor, bestowed upon a recipient by the votes of his peers, is a powerful nod to the skill Mr. Atkins…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt
Partner

About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict…

Diane  Englander  Peyser Attorney Photo
Diane Englander Peyser
Attorney

About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C., Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination,…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey
Attorney

About Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA),…

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