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New Jersey Supreme Court expands damages for whistle-blowers

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

The New Jersey Supreme Court has just made it easier for whistle-blowers to recover back-pay damages.

In Donelson v. DuPont Chambers Works (A-112-09, N.J. Supreme Court, 2011) the state’s highest court expanded the definition of “adverse employment action” and held that an employee can recover lost wages if the employer’s retaliation caused a disability that made the employee unable to continue working.

The case reinforces a critical point: Employers must make sure their policies and practices don’t violate the rights of whistle-blowers who raise workplace concerns.

Initial safety complaint

John Seddon worked for about 30 years as an operator technician at a DuPont chemical plant in Salem County. Seddon worked with dangerous chemicals and had to ensure that the equipment at the facility worked properly and the chemicals were handled safely.

In 2002, Seddon filed a complaint with the federal OSHA because he believed that DuPo...(register to read more)

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