Mashel Law Recovers $1.55 Million On Behalf Of Whistleblower
Mashel Law successfully obtained a $1,550,000.00 recovery against a New Jersey County (confidentiality agreement prohibits identity of County) on behalf of a whistleblower who claimed she was the victim of a pattern of offensive, intimidating, threatening, and bullying acts in retaliation for reporting to her superiors the conduct of coworkers which she reasonably believed was unlawful or contrary to state public policy. The Plaintiff who brought a lawsuit alleging violation of New Jersey’s Conscientious Employment Protection Act, N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 to -14 (CEPA), claimed she engendered the enmity of coworkers and her superiors by refusing to abide a pervasive "to get along, you go along" culture existing within the County where supervisors were expected not to report unlawful behavior of workers up the chain of command, but instead were expected to sweep it under the rug.
Plaintiff was the antithesis of an unwritten and unspoken "see/hear/speak no evil" County culture, where workers are told to be mindful that "snitches get stitches", and supervisors were expected not to report unlawful behavior up the chain of command; instead, they were expected to sweep malfeasance and nonfeasance under the rug. Rather than be supportive of Plaintiff's efforts to promote an effective and efficient department, her supervisors either condoned or ratified by inaction the unlawful misbehavior of coworkers or chose instead to berate Plaintiff because as one of her supervisors put it, "you don't let things slide."
CEPA makes it "unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee who ‘report[s] illegal or unethical workplace activities." Donelson v. DuPont Chambers Works, 206 N.J. 243, 256-57 (2011) (quoting Dzwonar v. McDevitt, 177 N.J. at 462)). CEPA protects equally those who are discharged, who suffer a retaliatory hostile work environment, who suffer psychiatric distress forcing early retirement, and even those currently employed by the retaliating company who were retaliated against in some fashion for their whistleblowing actions. This si because under CEPA, any retaliatory action on the part of the employer is a violation and therefore recoverable if the action(s) has proximately caused the injury to the employee. Donelson, 206 N.J.at 249 (referencing N.J.S.A. 34:19-5).
Here, the retaliatory harassment and unrelenting vilification Plaintiff experienced on the job eventually broke her down both mentally and emotionally, and vocationally disabled her. According to Stephan T. Mashel, what made this case particularly challenging, and the recovery achieved so exceptional, was the fact the Plaintiff had never been disciplined by the County and in fact had received positive written performance appraisals at the time she became disabled.
Do not hesitate to call the attorneys at Mashel Law (732) 536-6161 or fill out the contact form on this page for immediate help if your employer retaliates against you for disclosing, reporting, or refusing to engage in activity that you reasonably believe is unlawful, fraudulent, or contrary to public policy. At Mashel Law, located in Marlboro, New Jersey, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of employees.