Both the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Act and the Conscientious Employee Protection Act in New Jersey protect employees who report instances of wrongdoing. The laws prevent employers from retaliating against employees who report instances of unlawful activity or wrongdoing on the part of their employer. If you feel your CEPA or whistleblower rights may have been violated anywhere in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, or if you would like to ask about your rights under the CEPA or Whistleblower Act, please contact our offices immediately to speak with a Philadelphia employment whistleblower attorney.
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The Pennsylvania Whistleblower Act
The Pennsylvania Whistleblower Act, or 43 P.S. § 1423, prevents an employer from retaliating against an employee for making a good faith report to the employer or the appropriate authority about an instance of wrongdoing or waste. Retaliation includes firing, threatening to fire or taking any other actions that negatively affect the employee’s job or compensation. Essentially the Act prevents an employer from retaliating against the employee for reporting something that is happening at the job that the employee believes is unlawful.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
The Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA)
The Conscientious Employee Protection Act, or CEPA (N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 et seq.), prevents an employer from retaliating against an employee for disclosing information about the employer that the employee believes is either a violation of a law, rule, or regulation or criminal or fraudulent.
A violation of a law, or rule or regulation includes 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. CEPA also protects an employee who reports this information about another employer who has a business relationship with the employee’s employer.
Contact an Employment Whistleblower Attorney in Cases of Whistleblower Retaliation
A whistleblower, by definition, is a person who exposes illegal or unethical activity in an organization or business. The illegal activity may be against the employee, such as a sexual harassment case, or more general, like unlawful pollution practices. Whistleblower cases are important because they expose information about wrongdoing of which the public and law enforcement may be unaware. Whistleblower retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee for reporting a safety concern, or for reporting mismanagement, abuse of authority, or an illegal action in the workplace.
To prove retaliation for whistleblowing, you must show that you were fired or punished in the workplace because of your complaint or report. Timing is very important, because the case will be much stronger if there is very little time elapsed between your complaint and your employer’s negative reaction. If you’ve reported a violation of the law by your employer and you believe that you’ve suffered retaliation because of it, you should speak with an experienced employment whistleblower attorney in Philadelphia or Mount Laurel, NJ to discuss your legal options.
Employment Whistleblower attorneys specialize in the laws that protect whistleblowers
The federal government and many states have laws protecting whistleblowers from retaliation for reporting violations against their employer. The False Claims Act qui tam provision is one of the strongest whistleblower protection laws in the United States, according to the National Whistleblower Center. However, it has many complicated components. Contact an experienced Philadelphia employment whistleblower attorney to help you understand the process and your rights as a whistleblower. A whistleblower lawsuit can take a long time; It is not uncommon for a case to remain pending for many years while the case is investigated completely. As part of the settlement, your employment whistleblower attorney may be able to negotiate relief on your behalf, including reinstatement, back pay, compensation for litigation costs, and attorneys’ fees. State laws may offer more protection than federal law. Contact our Philadelphia employment whistleblower attorneys at 215-694-8885 to learn more.
What are the Legal Protections in Place to Support Whistleblowers?
There are several local, state, and federal laws that apply in Philadelphia guaranteeing workers protection from retaliation and other hostilities. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, different laws may apply. Following up with a skilled whistleblower attorney in Philadelphia familiar with Pennsylvania’s whistleblower laws is important in assessing your case. Here are some examples of laws that protect whistleblowers:
Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law: This state law broadly defines who this law applies to as anyone working for a ‘public body’, which focuses on government positions but does include private industries in some scenarios. This law offers protections to whistleblowers who witness wrongdoing and make a good-faith report to their supervisors about the incident.
Philadelphia False Claims Act: This city legislation essentially offers protection to whistleblowers and allows them to present claims of legal violations to the City of Philadelphia. Under this legislation, the government also retains the right to prosecute individuals who knowingly defraud the government or even are deliberately ignorant of their actions. With this law, whistleblowers can file a “qui tam” action, which gives the whistleblower 30% of the recovered claim.
Federal Laws: There are several different federal laws that protect whistleblowers.
Whistleblower Protection Act: Protects federal employees from retaliation
Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX): This was enacted in response to large corporate entities defrauding the government, specifically created against bank fraud, mail fraud, and security fraud.
Dodd Frank Act: This protects whistleblowers in the SEC as well as other similar bureaus.
Federal False Claims Act: Similar to the Philadelphia False Claims Act, this law protects any federal employee whistleblowers from retaliation after exposing fraud.
Are Whistleblowers Protected from Retaliation?
In the United States, whistleblowing employees are protected from retaliation. Under the previously mentioned laws and regulations, many employees are covered who work in businesses related to government professions. For other industries, workers may still feel that their employer has broken the law or defrauded the government. In these instances, workers can file whistleblower complaints with OSHA if they feel that their employer has retaliated against you or taken adverse action because of your whistleblowing. Employers that are found responsible for retaliation against a whistleblower could be subject to criminal prosecution. If you believe you’ve experienced retaliation in the workplace, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney in Philadelphia.
What is the Whistleblower Protection Act of 2012?
The Whistleblower Protection Act of 2012 was essentially additional legislation aimed at reinforcing federal whistleblower laws, particularly ones that documented evidence of fraud, abuse, or waste or resources. Additionally, the act notes that employees who have signed non-disclosure forms (NDA’s) or other contracts and agreements are not in violation of those contracts by being a whistleblower on applicable issues. Contact the Philadelphia area whistleblower lawyers at Zeff Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your case.
Who is an Eligible Whistleblower?
Depending on the type of crime being committed, several different types of professions could qualify as being whistleblowers. Generally speaking, whistleblowing refers to matters that have direct impact on the public good, whether through a government agency or as a private industry (such as healthcare) that directly impacts the public. That being said, many different people have been whistleblowers, from bookkeepers, sales representatives, managers, government contractors, executives, and many others. Whistleblowers must have actual, personal knowledge of the crime, the evidence must be considerable, and there must be enough ‘hard’ evidence for a case to be built. Consult the whistleblower attorneys at Zeff Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your whistleblower case.
Is Whistleblowing Confidential?
Luckily, some whistleblower protection laws in the United States allow for whistleblowers to make anonymous complaints. For example, the Dodd-Frank Act allows those who file under the law to maintain confidentiality for the informant. The IRS, which pursues legal action against those who commit tax fraud, also enforces informant confidentiality. Many federal courts also recognize the need for privacy in whistleblowers, however, in many public cases the details of the whistleblowing do not remain private. Make sure you work with a whistleblower attorney in Philadelphia to make sure your identity remains anonymous whenever possible.
How Long do you have to File a Whistleblower Complaint?
There is a statute of limitations on whistleblowing, although it is a reasonably long time. If making a lawsuit under the ‘qui tam’ provisions of federal law, whistleblowers must file a lawsuit within six years of the date of the original complaint. In addition, whistleblowers can make complaints 10 years after the fraud supposedly occurred, or within three years of notifying a federal body. Consult a whistleblower attorney in Philadephia for further explanation.
Do I Need to Hire a Whistleblower Lawyer in Philadelphia to be a Whistleblower?
As is your right in the United States, anyone can represent themselves in a claim or legal battle without hiring legal counsel. However, due to the intricacies of federal law, state and local law, employment law, and whistleblower protections, you would likely be unable to adequately represent yourself and may find that you are unfairly retaliated against as a result. Your best bet is to find a skilled whistleblower attorney like those at Zeff Law Firm to ensure that your case ends satisfactorily and gets you the best resolution possible.
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.