What Is the Conscientious Employee Protection Act?
The Conscientious Employee Protection Act, or CEPA, is New Jersey’s employee whistleblower protection law. CEPA protects New Jersey employees who engage in whistleblowing activity from retaliation by their employers, including being fired, demoted, passed over for promotion, given undesirable assignments, or harassed. Whistleblowing activity under CEPA includes objecting to something in the workplace that the employee reasonably believes violates the law or public policy.
What Kinds of Actions Does CEPA Protect from Retaliation?
CEPA protects employees from retaliation for engaging in “protected activity.” CEPA defines “protected activity” quite broadly, including when an employee objects to and/or refuses to participate in activities that the employee reasonably believes violates a law or regulation, is otherwise fraudulent or criminal, or is incompatible with legal requirements for public health, safety, welfare, or environmental protection.
CEPA protects employees who disclose or threaten to disclose information to supervisors or to government regulators or law enforcement bodies about an employer’s activities, policies, and/or practices that the employee reasonably believes constitutes a legal or regulatory violation, criminal activity, or fraud.
CEPA also protects employees who provide information to or testify before public bodies currently engaged in investigations of potential legal violations by the employee’s employer, or who provides such information to other persons or entities that do business with the employer.
Finally, CEPA also specifically protects certified or licensed health care professionals who object to or refuse to participate in activities they reasonably believe constitute improper patient care, or who disclose such activities to a supervisor or public body.
Compensation and Remedies Available under CEPA
If an employee is subjected to retaliation for protected activity, CEPA entitles the employee to seek a wide variety of remedies and compensation, including reinstatement to a position the employee had been demoted or terminated from, back wages and benefits, damages for emotional distress, and punitive damages. Employees may also seek reimbursement of their attorneys’ fees and legal costs incurred to assert their legal rights and protections under CEPA.
Other Employee Protection Statutes in New Jersey
In addition to CEPA, other New Jersey laws protect employees from retaliation by their employers when those employees assert their legal rights. For example, employees may seek damages for retaliation after attempting to assert their rights under state statutes such as:
- The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which prohibits employers from engaging in discrimination against employees on the basis of protected factors such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex/gender, age, or disability
- The New Jersey Wage & Hour Act, which sets forth minimum wage and overtime pay requirements
- The New Jersey Family Leave Act, which entitles eligible workers to leave for family or medical-related reasons
Finally, an employee may be entitled to seek remedy and compensation if they can establish that they were discharged from employment for reasons that violate the state’s public policy.
If you believe you may have been subjected to retaliation by your employer for engaging in protected activity or otherwise asserting your legal rights and protections under New Jersey law, you should speak to an experienced labor law attorney about your legal rights.
Contact a Moorestown Employment Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Labor Law Case
Everyone deserves to feel safe in the workplace and to have equal opportunities. However, that doesn’t always happen. If you believe you have been retaliated against in the workplace due to whistleblowing, the experienced employment law attorneys at Attorneys Hartman, Chartered can help. We represent clients in Marlton, Medford, Mount Laurel, Haddonfield, and all across New Jersey. Call (856) 235-0220 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation about your case. Our main office is located at 68 E. Main St., Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.