Life in the United States has been, effectively, put on “hold” as social distancing becomes a vital measure in limiting the spread of COVID-19. Millions of individuals are working from home or are otherwise out of work completely, while a majority of schools across the country are closed. Although the general public is being urged (and in some places, ordered) to stay home, healthcare providers are not afforded the same luxury. On the front lines of the pandemic, these individuals are preparing for the impending influx of COVID-19 patients.
Policies and crisis response plans are continually evolving in the wake of the constantly flowing stream of new information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). However, some health care facilities have been slower than their counterparts in keeping up with the quickly changing situation. Moreover, many hospitals are experiencing supply shortages, leading to some individuals having to reuse supplies such as masks, shields, and gloves.
Like the general public, healthcare workers worry about exposure to COVID-19. As some healthcare facilities remain ill-prepared, it is important to note that healthcare workers cannot be fired for objecting to or refusing to do something dangerous or filing a complaint.
CEPA is a New Jersey law that protects employees from retaliation for objecting to something that they reasonably believed violated the law. It is one of the country’s broadest whistleblower laws.
Among other things, CEPA makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee if they refuse or object to participate in actions they reasonably believe are violative of a clear public policy requirement relating to public health, safety, or welfare. Moreover, in the case of a certified or licensed health care professional, CEPA also applies to an employee who objects or refuses to participate in an activity they reasonably believed constitutes improper quality of patient care.
CEPA allows for a multitude of damages and remedies, including reinstatement to your job, lost wages and benefits, damages for emotional distress, and punitive damages. An employee may also recover attorneys’ fees from the employer.
Forms of Retaliation
Retaliation comes in many shapes and sizes. Some examples of retaliatory actions include termination, discipline, demotion, and harassment. If a negative employment action is based on the fact that an employee engaged in a legally protected activity, such as those covered by CEPA, it can be violative of the employee’s rights.
Employment Attorneys At McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Advocate On Behalf Of Victims Of Whistleblower Retaliation
If any of the above examples seem like your experience at work, please let us help you. The attorneys at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. take a proactive approach to each and every legal issue our clients face. Please call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, OR contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.