The term whistleblower is the term used to describe an employee who has reported unlawful actions committed by their employer. In an ideal situation, the employee who reported the unlawful action would receive accolades for their actions. Unfortunately, many times these employees are the victims of retaliation by the same employer who committed the unlawful act. Recently, a New Jersey city employee was the victim of whistleblower retaliation.
The New Jersey employee claims she failed to receive an employment promotion due to her previous whistleblower action. The employee claims she failed to receive a promotion as a result of her accusations that her director committed ethical breaches.
The employee, who works for the Division of Housing Production, accused her director of inappropriate lobbying for her personal gain. The employee claims the city administration failed to reprimand or conduct an investigation of the director’s alleged activities. Instead of a reprimand or investigation against the director, the administration allegedly penalized the employee by rejecting the employee’s job classification that resulted in ineligibility for a potential promotion.
Retaliation against employees due to whistleblower actions is illegal. Employees who have suffered from retaliation have federal and state protections, which include potential protection under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act. Employees who have incurred this type of retaliation may have legal recourse against their employer.
The lawsuit filed by the employee claims she suffered emotional and psychological injuries due to her employer. The employee’s injuries are attributed to the employer’s harassment and humiliation actions toward the employee that occurred at her place of work. The lawsuit seeks attorney cost, punitive damages and compensatory damages.
Source: Nj.com, “Trenton housing department staffer sues city over job,” Lisa Coryell, April 1, 2012