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April 23, 2014

Posting By Employer Regarding Pending Legal Action Can Violate CEPA

In Flecker v Statue Cruises, LLC, the plaintiff filed an action against his employer alleging violations of the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law.  In response, the employer posted a memorandum directed to all employees informing them of the suit.  The memo specifically identified plaintiff as the party responsible for filing the suit and advised employees that as a result, no employees would be scheduled for overtime.  Immediately thereafter, plaintiff was confronted, threatened and harassed by coworkers.  Eventually the harassment became so great that plaintiff resigned.  Plaintiff then filed a claim of retaliation under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), New Jersey’s whistle-blower statute.

The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the employer and the case was dismissed.  However, on November 14, 2012, the Appellate Division reversed this ruling and reinstated the case, noting there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the employer knew or should have known its memorandum would incite the plaintiff’s co-workers and that such action could ultimately force the plaintiff to resign.  This is yet another example to show that CEPA is far-reaching, and protects workers from a wide assortment of retaliatory conduct far greater than mere discharge, suspension or demotion.

© 2014 Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C. All Rights Reserved

About the Author

Ari G. Burd, Giordano Law Firm, Labor Employment Attorney
Associate

Mr. Burd practices in both the Labor and Employment Law Practice Area and the Health Care Practice Area. In the Labor and Employment Practice Area, Mr. Burd devotes his time to litigation and counseling employers with regard to traditional employment and labor related issues. Mr. Burd has extensive experience in both the state and federal courts in areas including retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour, sexual harassment and race, age, gender and disability discrimination. Mr. Burd also has considerable experience in assisting negotiating and drafting employment related...

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