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Monday, March 21, 2022

NJ Whistleblower Attorney, Whistleblower Employees and Negative Performance Evaluations

When an employee objects to or refuses to comply with what he/she believes to be the public or private employer’s illegal acts, the management may quickly spring into gear to contrive a bogus justification to terminate the complaining employee.

Employer’s First Step Heading to an Illegal Retaliatory Termination

Frequently, the first step a devious employer may take against a whistleblowing employee who previously had good evaluations, is to give the employee a negative employee performance evaluation, or place them on a P.I.P. (Personal Improvement Plan), or give them a written warning that their work is deficient in some way. When this happens, the employer may be lining up its ducks to attempt to have a valid legal defense against a claim of retaliatory discrimination for subsequently terminating the whistleblower employee. Such a bogus defense is referred to as a “pretext” for discrimination.

Retaliatory Actions Such as Bogus Negative Employee Evaluations, Demotions and Terminations Are Prohibited

The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA),  N.J.S.A.§ 34:19-1 et seq., under § 34:19-3 (a) (1) mandates in part that a NJ  employer shall not take any retaliatory action against an employee because the employee does any of the following:

a. Discloses, or threatens to disclose to a supervisor or to a public body an activity, policy or practice of the employer, or another employer, with whom there is a business relationship, that the employee reasonably believes (1) is in violation of a law, or a rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to law.

The CEPA statute § 34:19-2 (d) defines "supervisor" as any individual with an employer's organization who has the authority to direct and control the work performance of the affected employee, who has authority to take corrective action regarding the violation of the law, rule or regulation of which the employee complains, or who has been designated by the employer on the notice required under Section 7 [C.34:19-7] of this act. Thus, "supervisor" is broadly defined.

In a case before the NJ Supreme court in 2000, the plaintiff nurse complained to her defendant boss about acts that she believed to be illegal business practices, and reported the problem under § 34:19-1-8, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA). The complaining nurse was subsequently terminated from her employment. When she filed a lawsuit, the trial court found that her whistle-blowing was not protected. She appealed the decision to the Appellate Division, arguing that CEPA permitted employees to submit legitimate complaints to any individual who fell within the definition of "supervisor" without being lawfully terminated and she was fired in retaliation.

After litigation on a number of issues, the case eventually made its way to the NJ Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decision stated that that the matter be remanded to the lower court, the Law Division, to determine whether plaintiff nurse had stated an actionable claim. The Court held that a jury could have inferred that Defendant employer's negative evaluation of the nurse plaintiff was a pretext designed to cover up the employer's retaliation against her for whistleblowing on its sloppy and illegal practices, and the Court reversed and remanded with directions to reconsider whether plaintiff stated an actionable whistleblower claim.

I have successfully represented executives, managers, teachers, truck drivers and other blue-collar workers in whistleblower claims and was successful in recovering six figure settlement moneys for them. If you believe you are being targeted by your employer in retaliation for whistleblowing, you should contact this office immediately for a free consultation.

If you quit your job, you may lose right to prevail in a lawsuit

In many instances of discrimination, if you quit your job, you may lose right to prevail in a lawsuit unless you first take certain legally required measures to preserve your job while you are still employed. If you are thinking of quitting, or think you will be fired, you should contact this office immediately to discuss your options in the safest way for you.

What You Can Do

I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in successfully representing persons who were whistleblower employees and was successful in recovering multiple six figure settlement moneys for them. If you are thinking of resigning, or think you will be fired, or have been fired, it is important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in whistleblower law.

If You Complained about What You Reasonably Believed to Be Your Employer’s Illegal Practices and Your Employer Retaliated

Do not sit on your rights, or you may lose the right to file your claim. If you think you have been retaliated against for complaining about or reporting to your employer what you believe are your employer’s illegal practices, it is essential for you to contact an experienced, competent and successful whistleblower attorney who will be aggressive about enforcing your rights as soon as possible.

If you have been demoted, had your hours cut, terminated, harassed or been subjected to retaliation for complaining about, objecting to, refusing to participate in, or reporting what you believe is your employer’s illegal or improper conduct, you should contact this law firm as soon as possible. I am an experienced and compassionate employment attorney who will be aggressive about enforcing your rights. I am successful in bringing whistleblower lawsuits against governmental entities and private employers and recovering money for whistleblower workers.

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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