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The NJ Conscientious Employee Protection Act: How It Protects You

September 7, 2023 Whistleblower Claims

You Have the Right To Report Your Employer’s Illegal Activity

The NJ Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) is a law that protects New Jersey employees from retaliation if they blow the whistle on their employer’s legal violations, or actions they reasonably believe are illegal. Here’s how it works, and what actions it protects.

What Actions Does CEPA View as Protected?

CEPA prevents your employer from targeting you for retaliation if you perform any of the following activities:

  • Objecting to, or refusing to participate in, an action you reasonably believe is illegal.
  • Disclosing or threatening to disclose illegal activity to the public or a supervisor.
  • Testifying with regard to a potential violation of the law, or assisting in an investigation.

If the action your employer took turns out not to be illegal, CEPA still protects you from retaliation as long as you reasonably believed that the action was illegal, fraudulent, or in violation of public health, safety, welfare or environmental regulations.

In addition, CEPA offers protection to doctors, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare providers who object to, refuse to take part in, or disclose information about employer activities that they have reason to believe amount to substandard patient care.

What Employer Actions Are Prohibited by CEPA?

Under CEPA, any retaliatory action for the above activities is prohibited. That may include:

  • Suspending, demoting, or firing you, or threatening to
  • Verbally or physically harassing you
  • Changing your shift to a less desirable shift
  • Reducing your hours
  • Giving you a negative review
  • Any other adverse reaction in the workplace

What Damages Can You Collect Under CEPA?

If you believe your employer is in violation of CEPA, you can file a civil lawsuit within a year of their retaliation. The damages you can potentially collect include:

  • Lost wages
  • Lost benefits, such as health insurance or stock options
  • Punitive damages
  • Emotional distress
  • Reinstatement of your job
  • Attorneys’ fees and legal costs

Has Your Employer Retaliated Against You for Whistleblowing? Contact a New Jersey Employment Lawyer

If your employer has retaliated against you for taking protected action under CEPA, you may have recourse in court. A knowledgeable New Jersey employment lawyer can help you collect damages and hold your employer accountable.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today. 

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.