Employees who blow the whistle on corporate misdeeds have extra time to file retaliation complaints under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), thanks to a recent ruling by the New Jersey Superior Court, Law Division.
The court decided that a 90-day notification requirement under the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (TCA) does not apply to CEPA complaints.
The court noted that the intent of TCA—to settle tort cases efficiently—is very different from the intent of CEPA, which protects civil rights.
In another recent ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court extended whistle-blower protections to some independent contractors.
What it means: Many companies successfully defend themselves against claims of misconduct only to be tripped up when whistle-blowers charge retaliation. Beware of any adverse actions against employees in the wake of a protected complaint.
- Avoid time sheets for independent contractors
- When employee complains, you must investigate -- but you can insist on a civilized complaint
- Vague 'unfairness' complaints aren't protected activity
- If new job stinks, requested transfer can be retaliation
- Oral promise of long-term job will trump written at-will agreement