Articles Posted in Whistleblowing

Metal whistleCan a person whose job is to ensure that the company follows a particular standard of care; i.e., a watchdog employee, bring an action against the company under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the state’s whistleblower law?

In case you missed it, earlier this month, the New Jersey Supreme Court answered this question (here) with a resounding yes! The logic is that CEPA is a very broad, remedial statute, and there is nothing in the letter of the law that carves away protections for watchdog employees. Therefore, when an employee “blows the whistle” on an unlawful (or what he/she reasonably believes is an unlawful) employer activity, that employee may have a claim under CEPA — even if the whistleblower is employed as, well, a whistleblower.

Image Credit: By Metal_whistle.jpg: Markus Schweissderivative work: MichaelFrey (Metal_whistle.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby.
Let me know.
Girl I’m gonna show you how to do it.
And we start real slow.
You just put your lips together.
And you come real close.
Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby?
Here we go.

Concerned with the limited scope of Pennsylvania’s Whistleblower Law, the existential activist Flo Rida wrote the 2012 hit Whistle to raise awareness and trigger a potentially huge change in the law.

{Editor’s Note: No he didn’t. Not at all.}

Still, last week, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed this proposed amendment to the Whistleblower Law, which would expand its scope to include employees of any employer that “receives money from a public body to perform work or provide services.”

Presently, the law prohibits retaliation against only public employees who, in good faith, report (or are about to report) either:

  1. An employer’s conduct or omissions which result in substantial abuse, misuse, destruction or loss of funds or resources belonging to or derived from Commonwealth or political subdivision sources.
  2. A violation which is not of a merely technical or minimal nature of a Federal or State statute or regulation, of a political subdivision ordinance or regulation or of a code of conduct or ethics designed to protect the interest of the public or the employer.

On top of expanding the scope of whistleblower protection in PA, the legislation would also increase penalties on individuals who violate the law’s provisions. Individuals found guilty would face a fine of $10,000 (currently $500) and would be suspended from public office for a period of seven years (currently six months) for preventing disclosure of criminal activity.

The bill now moves to the PA Senate, where it now sits in the Labor and Industry Committee, for consideration.

toiletHey employers! You know what’s stupid? My tongue-in-cheek pun on despicable workplace conditions. Depriving employees of bathroom privileges. Even dumber is firing them after they complain to state regulators about the lack of an onsite toilet. 

One company recently learned this lesson the hard way. Details after the jump…

* * *

Continue reading

'First Birthday cake and cupcakes' photo (c) 2011, kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) - license: before I get to that, did you know that The Employer Handbook turns one today? It’s true. Help me blow out the candle — hey, kid! Save some for the rest of us.


Just click through because I’ve got a crazazy one for you. It’s a true story about a police officer – slash – ambulance driver who started a high-speed ambulance chase to serve a restraining order on a co-worker’s ex-boyfriend and then…

Yeah, just hit the jump…

* * *

Continue reading

Consider this scenario:

Employee believes he is being discriminated against. Employee complains to Human Resources. HR investigates, but is unable to substantiate the employee’s claims. Employee nonetheless sues his employer, alleging discrimination. While the lawsuit is pending, the employer fires the employee for reasons it claims are unrelated to the pending action.

whistleb.gifAccording to a recent unpublished NJ decision, the employee could have both a discrimination claim and a whistleblower claim under New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA).

Ain’t that some sh!t!

More on this important decision and the impact it may have on employers, after the jump…

* * *

Continue reading

whistle.jpgIn New Jersey, a private employer may not fire an employee who objects to or refuses to participate in any activity that the employee reasonably believes is illegal or would endanger public health, safety, or welfare. This is codified in New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA).

The typical CEPA claim involves an employee who alleges that he/she was fired after complaining directly to management about some business-related conduct that the employee thought was legally or morally wrong. But what about when an employee confronts a customer, on the employer’s premises, about something the employee reasonably believes that the customer has done wrong? If the employee is later fired, does the employee have a viable CEPA claim?

Find out, after the jump…

* * *

Continue reading