“Workplace retaliation” is any form of retaliatory action taken by an employer against an employee for having engaged in protected activity (such as reporting workplace discrimination or sexual harassment.)
Workplace retaliation, in all its forms, is illegal, and there are several state and federal laws in place which protect individuals (or “whistleblowers”) from unjust consequences for simply doing the right thing.
What Are New Jersey’s Whistleblower Protection Laws?
New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA)
The Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) is New Jersey’s own whistleblower protection law, and one of the broadest in the country. Enacted in 1986, it protects employees who blow the whistle on discriminatory, dangerous, or otherwise unlawful practices in the workplace.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD)
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) protects employees against employment discrimination based on certain protected classes, including pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment in the workplace, age discrimination, race discrimination, and more. Additionally, it also makes it clear that it is illegal to retaliate against employees who make complaints about discrimination in the workplace.
NJLAD and CEPA are also further bolstered by several other New Jersey statutes and acts, including the New Jersey Civil Rights Act (NJCRA) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA), each of which include several of their own anti-retaliation provisions.
What Are The Federal Whistleblower Protection Laws?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, otherwise known as the “EEOC,” is responsible for enforcing the federal laws and statutes that prohibit discrimination against applicants or employees because of their race, religion, gender, sex, age, orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, etc., alongside enforcing the many whistleblower protections and provisions that come with them.
Federal anti-retaliation laws include:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII of the CRA states that discrimination against a person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), or national origin is illegal.
It offers protections against retaliation for submitting a formal complaint about workplace discrimination, participating in an official discrimination investigation, or even actively resisting discriminatory acts at work.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963
This act makes it illegal for men and women to be paid different wages for the same work in the same workplace, and it also protects whistleblowers from retaliation.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
As its title suggests, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits any kind of age-related discrimination against people aged 40 or above in not just the workplace, but the throughout the entire hiring and employment process.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
In addition to offering anti-retaliation whistleblower protections, this act declares that it is illegal for private or government employers to discriminate against a person with a disability who is qualified for the position. Enforced by the EEOC, these anti-discrimination protections extend to a surprising amount of work-related situations, including the job application process, promotions, pay, and more.
Sections 501 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 “prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the federal sector.”
Section 504 goes on to clarify the scope of the act’s anti-discrimination protections, explaining that they extend to “any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance or … conducted by a federal executive agency,” and that they don’t just apply to people with disabilities, but anyone who works for (or applied to) an applicable organization.
Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)
Title II of GINA makes it illegal to discriminate against current or potential employees because of genetic information.
In other words, using an individual’s “genetic information” (which can include lab results or the medical history of an individual and their family) as a basis for discrimination is strictly prohibited, as is seeking out the genetic information of a current or future employee.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The FMLA “entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.”
It also prohibits retaliation against employees who have engaged in activities that are considered “protected” under the FMLA, such as filing a complaint about workplace discrimination.
Our New Jersey Workplace Retaliation Lawyers Can Help You
If you have suffered retaliation in the workplace after reporting unsafe practices or a violation of the law, you should have been protected and may have a claim. The experienced and knowledgeable whistleblower and workplace retaliation lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. can help you claim justice and the compensation to which you are rightly entitled.
Call or contact us at our Red Bank, Marlton or Newark, New Jersey offices today to set up a consultation and learn more.