Rights of Employees
Retaliation and Whistleblowers
As our New Jersey whistleblower lawyers can explain to you, numerous state and federal laws make it illegal for your employer to retaliate against you. For example, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("LAD"), the New York Human Rights Law ("NYHRL") and the New York City Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL") all protect employees who complain about illegal discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
Similarly, the Family & Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), the New Jersey Family Leave Act ("NJFLA"), the Occupational Health & Safety Act ("OSHA"), state and federal wage and hour laws including the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), and many other employment laws prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers.
In addition, both New Jersey and New York law prohibit employers from retaliating against employees because they took time off from work for jury duty. Further, the First Amendment offers protection to state and local government employees who speak out about issues of public concern.
New Jersey has one of the country’s broadest whistleblower laws, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act ("CEPA"). Among other things, CEPA makes it illegal for your employer to retaliate against you if you object to or refuse to participate in something you reasonably believe is illegal, criminal, fraudulent, or violates a clear public policy requirement that relates to public health, safety, welfare or the environment. If you are a licensed or certified health care professional, CEPA also applies if you objected to or refused to participate in an activity you reasonably believed constitutes improper quality of patient care.
For more information about CEPA, please read our Frequently Asked Questions about the Conscientious Employee Protection Act.
Similarly, New York now has its own broad whistleblower law, NY Labor Sections 740 and 741. To learn more, please see our article: New York Finally Enacts Broad Whistleblower law.Worker's Compensation Retaliation
Both New Jersey and New York law prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who seek workers’ compensation benefits, or who file worker's compensation claims. Worker's compensation retaliation can occur because an employer is upset that your claim could increase its insurance rates or require it to complete extra paperwork, because it brings to light a dangerous condition in the workplace, or for a variety of other reasons.
Worker's compensation retaliation claims are often (but not always) associated with disability discrimination claims. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you have been treated less favorably because you filed a worker's compensation claim, because you have an injury that requires you to take time off from work or temporarily limits your ability to perform your job, or both.What Actions By My Employer Can Be Considered Retaliation?
A wide variety of retaliatory conduct can violate your employment law rights if it is based on the fact that you engaged in a legally-protected activity. In other words, retaliation can come in many forms.
Sometimes employers harass employees who raise legally protected complaints, trying to punish them or to convince them to stop pressing those complaints. Other employers fire, discipline, demote, pass over for promotion or take another adverse employment action against employees who object to violations of the law. Each of these forms of retaliation can be illegal.
The False Claims Act also provides protection to individuals who engage in whistleblowing by reporting particular violations of law that harm the state or federal government. Individuals who file successful cases under the False Claims Act are eligible to receive a percentage of the money the government recovers.Contact a New York and New Jersey Whistleblower Lawyer
If you have experienced retaliation at your job, or would like more information about your employment law rights in New Jersey or New York, Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C. can help. Please call one of the New Jersey whistleblower lawyers of at (973) 744-4000, or contact us online to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.