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Saturday, April 10, 2021

NJ Whistleblower Lawyer, Retaliation for Objecting to Employer Fraud

Although the Enron and WorldCom scandals around 2001-2002 perhaps caught the public eye like no other frauds, all levels of employees in all occupations may be asked to participate in a fraud to further the employer’s business agenda. They may believe there is fraud by employer’s practices without themselves being asked to participate. Employees may experience employment retaliation when they refuse or object to such business practices which they reasonably believe violates law or perpetuates a fraud. Such refusal or objection is considered “protected activity” under numerous state and federal statutes. If your employer did retaliate against you because of the “protected activity”, you may have a workplace retaliation claim, also known as a whistleblower claim.

By way of an example, an employment retaliation could occur in response to when a high-level executive in a business refuses to not disclose documents to an internal or IRS auditor. Another employee could refuse to “bury” documents internally, or dispose of documents which she/he reasonably believes that the employer has a legal duty to maintain. A low-level employee could be directed by a high-ranking manager to alter or shred documents if they want to maintain their position and the employee reasonably believes the directions would help the employer perpetuate an illegal act. This threat does not have to be verbalized out loud.

Even If the Practices Are Not Illegal

If the worker reasonably believes the employer’s business practices are illegal and objects to them, even if the practices are not illegal, and then is demoted, transferred or otherwise retaliated against by the employer, a NJ worker may have a whistleblower claim under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) or with certain facts, under federal statutes.

Not Necessary That the Worker Be Asked to Participate

It is not even necessary that the worker be asked to participate in committing acts to perpetuate a fraud or the employer’s illegal practice. If the employee objects or complains about the employer’s own practices which the employee reasonably believes is illegal, the employee is engaged in protected activity.

No Exceptions for Watchdogs under the New Jersey Statute

Even under the NJ law, CEPA, a worker whose job it is to be a “watch-dog” for his employer and report to employer if any illegal activity is occurring at the workplace or in conjunction with the employer’s business, the watch-dog employee still has the right to pursue a whistleblower claim if there is employer retaliation for his reporting such acts. There is no exception for employers to escape liability for retaliation against whistleblowers who are paid by the employer himself to be the employer’s watchdogs themselves.

Not All Illegal Acts Are Planned During Clandestine Meetings in Business Suites

For example, in New Jersey, there have been businesses who directed their employees to illegally dump fluids and business waste by-products in order to avoid paying expensive but environmentally-safe garbage disposal fees, i.e., these could include factory and manufacturing by-products, used cooking oils from restaurant fryers, spa cosmetology waste products, and automobile by-products.

DO NOT SIT ON YOUR RIGHTS!

If you are thinking about resigning, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney before you do so. If you think your employer is forcing you out or illegally retaliating against you, or if you were terminated, you should call me now for a free consultation. I am an experienced, aggressive and compassionate whistleblower attorney.  I have successfully represented employees of public entities and private employers, who were harassed, retaliated against, or terminated and was successful in obtaining monetary compensation for them, including top-tier professionals. Do not sit on your rights, or you may lose the right to file your claim.

If you are being subjected to such unlawful workplace retaliation, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation. I accept whistleblower and discrimination cases from all over New Jersey.

New Jersey employment attorney, Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout the state, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.



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