NJ Bill S2712 puts legislation in place to ensure nursing homes are staffed appropriately, with a 1:8 aide-to-patient ratio. Unfortunately, there continue to be rumblings that nursing homes fail to adhere to these laws and instead, use dishonest methods to make it appear as though they are compliant.
This is not only a blatantly disregarding the law, but it could be life-threatening for under-staffed elderly patients . As such, it is not out of the ordinary for a nursing home staff member to blow the whistle against their employer for dangerous and unlawful acts.
Thankfully, these overworked aids and their reports regarding understaffing and patient care issues, are protected by the Conscientious Employee Protection Act.
What is The Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA)?
The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) protects employees who come forward to report illegal and fraudulent activities. CEPA is more commonly known as New Jersey’s whistleblower statute and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report such activity. Wrongful termination, demotion, job transfers, intimidation, abuse, or harassment be unlawful when taken against an employee because they exercised their legal right to report unsafe or unlawful conduct.
Nursing Home Facility Staffing Ratios As Required By Legislation S2712
As described in Legislation S2712, nursing homes and long-term care facilities are required to comply with the following standards for staff/patient ratios:
- One certified nursing assistant (CNA) for 8 patients per day shift.
- One direct care staff member (a CNA, licensed or registered nurse) for every 10 residents during the evening shift.
- One direct care staff member for every 14 residents during the overnight shift.
These are the minimum ratio requirements as laid out by the law, and failure to comply can result in dramatically unsafe scenarios for both residents and staff. That is why it is important for employees to report any violations and other unlawful behavior of this nature.
Whistleblower Protections Under The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA)
The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) protects employees who report their employer’s illegal and fraudulent activities. CEPA is frequently called New Jersey’s “Whistleblower Act” and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report such activity. Under CEPA, it is illegal to retaliate against employees who:
- Threatens to inform, or informs a supervisor or a public body about an employer’s illegal activity, policy, or practice.
- Provides information or testifies during an investigation, hearing, or inquiry involving the employer.
- Provides information that the employer engaged in deception or misrepresentation that may defraud a shareholder, client, investor, or patient.
- Objects to, or refuses to participate in, an activity, policy, or practice that they believe is illegal or against the best interest of public health or safety.
If an employer or supervisor takes no action in response to an employee’s complaints or takes adverse employment action against them for their complaints, the employee may be protected.
Do I Have A Good Whistleblower Retaliation Case?
Building a strong whistleblower case requires a detailed understanding and investigation followed by a careful plan of action. At McOmber McOmber & Luber we will:
- Identify all key documents, evidence, and witnesses to uncover all of the facts and circumstances of your case;
- Implement a specific plan to help protect you from future retaliation; and
- Take legal action on your behalf.
The best way to start seeking justice is by reaching out to our experienced whistleblower attorneys today.
We Can Help You
If you have suffered retaliation in the workplace after reporting what you believe to be a violation of the law by your employer, you may have a claim for damages.
If you are considering reporting an employer, the experienced and knowledgeable CEPA lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. can help you claim justice and the compensation to which you deserve. Call or contact us today at our Red Bank, NJ, Marlton, NJ or Newark, NJ offices to set up a consultation.