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Monday, October 10, 2022

NJ Whistleblower Attorney, My Employer Is Committing Fraud

There are numerous federal and various state statues which mandate legal protection for an employee who complains about or refuses to participate in fraudulent activities of the employer. Each statute has different specific facts that must be pled and must be proven to ultimately prevail on a case filed under that particular statute. Some statutes are extremely detailed and specific as to what is required to file and prevail on a claim. New Jersey however has its own whistleblower statute, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 et seq.,( CEPA) with a very broad definition of fraud, unlike the more highly articulated language and requirements in some other whistleblower statutes such as The Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblowers Act , and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

This firm is experienced in representing whistleblowers. I have successfully represented executives, managers, office workers, truck drivers and obtained multiple-six figure moneys for them. You can call this law office today for a free consultation if you think you may have a whistleblower claim.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act resulted from a severe financial crisis in the fall of 2008, a crisis of a magnitude resulting in trillions in lost wealth and left millions of Americans unemployed. The driving force of the 2008 crisis was the broken financial regulatory system in effect that time. The most far-reaching Wall Street reform in history, 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, one of the most important laws passed during the Obama administration, was to prevent the excessive lending, and irresponsible bank and financial risk-taking that led to the dire financial crisis of 2008. Subsequent to the passage of Dodd-Frank 2010, financial studies found the Dodd–Frank Act improved financial stability and consumer protection. However, eight years after Dodd-Frank was enacted into law, on May 24, 2018 the subsequent administration passed a bill signed by the next president which rolled back key bank regulations within it. In doing, in 2018, it eliminated and loosened key provisions and key protections of the original Act of 2010.

However, the New Jersey Statute, CEPA, Is Sweepingly Broad in its Inclusion of Fraud.

New Jersey’s Whistleblower statute, CEPA, unlike the highly specific requirements of the two statutes referenced above, is very broad in its definition of what an employee must allege to bring a whistleblower claim under CEPA.

New Jersey’s employee whistleblower statute, CEPA, states in several sections of the statute that when an employee whistleblows on certain activities of the employer which employee reasonably believes to be fraudulent, that the employee is engaging in protected activity for which the employer cannot legally retaliate. Conscientious Employee Protection Act, CEPA, N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 et seq. Many employees who believe their NJ employer is engaging in fraud are not able to cite to the exact law that they believe is being violated when they bring their concerns to the management or refuse to participate in such activities. Not being able to cite to a specific statute is not fatal to a CEPA claim if the employee’s belief is a reasonable belief, that the employer is committing fraud.

“Fraud” is a broad topic. While some courts have discussed fraud separately from other illegal activities, the CEPA statute is broad in including it among other illegalities, as long as the complaining employee’s belief was a reasonable belief. Fraud under CEPA, as well as certain deceptions or misrepresentations, is mentioned in several sections within the statute. Let’s take a look a the statute language itself:

§ 34:19 (3). Retaliatory action prohibited

An 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, including any violation involving deception of, or misrepresentation to, any shareholder, investor, client, patient, customer, employee, former employee, retiree or pensioner of the employer or any governmental entity, or, in the case of an employee who is a licensed or certified health care professional, reasonably believes constitutes improper quality of patient care; or

(2) is fraudulent or criminal, including any activity, policy or practice of deception or misrepresentation which the employee reasonably believes may defraud any shareholder, investor, client, patient, customer, employee, former employee, retiree or pensioner of the employer or any governmental entity;

(b) Provides information to, or testifies before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into any violation of law, or a rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to law by the employer, or another employer, with whom there is a business relationship, including any violation involving deception of, or misrepresentation to, any shareholder, investor, client, patient, customer, employee, former employee, retiree or pensioner of the employer or any governmental entity, or, in the case of an employee who is a licensed or certified health care professional, provides information to, or testifies before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into the quality of patient care; or

(c) Objects to, or refuses to participate in any activity, policy or practice which the employee reasonably believes:

(1) is in violation of a law, or a rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to law, including any violation involving deception of, or misrepresentation to, any shareholder, investor, client, patient, customer, employee, former employee, retiree or pensioner of the employer or any governmental entity, or, if the employee is a licensed or certified health care professional, constitutes improper quality of patient care;

(2) is fraudulent or criminal, including any activity, policy or practice of deception or misrepresentation which the employee reasonably believes may defraud any shareholder, investor, client, patient, customer, employee, former employee, retiree or pensioner of the employer or any governmental entity; or

(3) is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy concerning the public health, safety or welfare or protection of the environment.

Under CEPA, the Belief That Employer Is Committing Fraud, Must Be a Reasonable Belief.

A key point in a fraud case filed under CEPA, is that the employee’s belief that the employer is committing fraud, must be a reasonable belief. The term "reasonably believes" is not intended to instigate litigation concerning mere disagreements, hunches or objections to the employer’s business practices. The NJ Supreme Court in  Estate of Roach v. TRW, Inc., 164 N.J. 598, (2000) stated that CEPA affords protection to employees if they reasonably believe that the activity complained of is fraudulent or criminal even when the activity does not rise to the level of an actual crime. 

I have successfully represented executives,  managers, office workers, truck drivers, and obtained multiple-six figure 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 for a free consultation 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. 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 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 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 and have locations in Southern, Central and Northern NJ to meet with clients.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law represents workers throughout the entire state, including Hackensack, Jersey City, Newark, Irvington, Orange, East Orange, Trenton, Paterson, Montclair, Elizabeth, North Brunswick, Cherry Hill, Vineland, Union, Plainfield, Hamilton Township, Lakewood, Edison, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Franklin, Lakewood, and every NJ County, including Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, Essex, Monmouth, Somerset, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, Morris, Gloucester, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden Counties.


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