Retaliation & Whistleblowing

Whistleblower Retaliation Attorneys in Moorestown

Business owners are commonly motivated by their bottom lines. This often causes unscrupulous managers to cut corners in potentially illegal ways. If a worker reports these activities to the appropriate authority, also known as “blowing the whistle,” they are protected by strict state and federal laws. A whistleblower is also an employee who objects to or refuses to participate in their employers’ illegal activity.

It’s not easy to be a whistleblower. Whistleblowers should be rewarded for their courage. Although there should be incentives for reporting fraud, unlawful conduct, and risks to public health, whistleblowers often face retaliation. All employees should know that there are federal and state laws that prohibit retaliatory adverse employment actions towards whistleblowers.

Whistleblowing is a protected activity in the state of New Jersey. In fact, New Jersey has some of the strictest laws in the nation prohibiting retaliation against “whistleblowers.”

Attorneys Richard Schall and Patricia Barasch have more than 50 years combined legal experience representing New Jersey employees. If you believe you’ve been subjected to workplace retaliation and would like advice, guidance, and strategy for how to deal with it, we can help.

We recommend completing our online contact form so we can get started on your case. We will review your issue and get back to you most often within 24 hours.

What Is an Employment Retaliation Lawyer?

An employment retaliation lawyer is a legal professional who fights against workplace retaliation and discrimination. This includes cases arising under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA.”) In addition, there are provisions within the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination that prohibit retaliation against employees who report discrimination. Employment retaliation attorneys are required to know every aspect of these laws.

What Is Retaliation in the Workplace?

Workplace retaliation is a form of illegal discrimination that occurs in a work environment. It is when an employer, organization, or agency takes action against their employee because they took part in a protected activity. A protected activity, in this case, might be whistleblowing, reporting discrimination, or filing a complaint with either management or a government agency.

Retaliation occurs when an employer takes hostile actions against the employee who “blew the whistle.” Hostile actions can include firing, demoting or harassing an employee. Retaliation includes harassing or investigating a whistleblower’s colleagues and supporters.

Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA)

The most well-known of the anti-retaliation laws is the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, also referred to as CEPA. It prohibits employers from disciplining, demoting, or terminating an employee because he or she has “blown the whistle.”

Whistleblowing can include any of the following:

  • Bringing to light employer conduct that may be illegal or fraudulent.
  • Cooperating in a public body’s (local, state, or federal) investigation into the employer’s conduct.
  • Refusing to go along with employer conduct that may be illegal or that may pose a threat to the public health, safety or welfare.

Who Can Complain of Retaliation?

Any employee who opposed unlawful practices or conduct may bring a complaint. In addition, those who participated in proceedings related to employment discrimination or harassment may complain of illegal retaliation.

The idea is that laws are useless unless people may invoke their protections without fear. Are you afraid to come forward against your employer? You should know that the protections against retaliation are particularly strong laws. Speak with one of the experienced employment attorneys at Schall and Barasch LLC to learn more about your rights as an employee.

What Is a Protected Activity?

The law prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees who engage in protected activities. But what exactly are protected activities? Broadly speaking, protected activities include opposing an unlawful or discriminatory practice. In order to properly oppose one of these practices, an employee can communicate to their employer their reasonable, good-faith belief that the company is engaging in illegal or discriminatory activities.

Some examples of protected activities include:

  • Complaining to a supervisor or HR about discrimination against yourself or others.
  • Threatening to file, or filing, a charge of discrimination.
  • Refusing to obey an order you believe is illegal or discriminatory,
  • Protesting or picketing in opposition to discrimination.
  • The following acts of opposition are not protected:
  • Actions that might interfere with your job performance.
  • Unlawful activities such as acts, or threats of violence.

What Is an Adverse Action?

An adverse action is something an employer does to keep an employee from opposing an illegal or discriminatory practice. It also includes keeping an employee from participating in an employment discrimination proceeding. If a reasonable person would be deterred by the employer’s “adverse action,” the court would find this to be unlawful retaliation.

The following list includes some possible adverse actions:

  • Termination
  • Loss of benefits
  • Transfer or reassignment to more difficult duties
  • Refusal to hire
  • Denial of promotion
  • Threats of termination or demotion
  • Unjustified negative evaluations
  • Increased surveillance of an employee’s performance
  • Unjustified negative references

Keep in mind: not all offensive comments by an employer are “adverse actions.” Just because your boss annoys you or makes petty or negative comments, does not mean the court would define the behavior as adverse.

Contact the Moorestown Workplace Retaliation Lawyers at Schall & Barasch LLC Today

No one should feel discriminated against or retaliated against in their own workplace. Have you faced discrimination or retaliation at work? Do you believe this retaliation or discrimination was in violation of CEPA or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination? We encourage you to set up a consultation with our firm.

Request your initial consultation by dialing (856) 242-8491 or filling out our online form today.

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