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New Jersey Bill Will Make Whistleblower Settlement Agreements with Public Entities Public Records

Proposed legislation that would make whistleblower settlement agreements involving public entities available to the public has been approved unanimously by the New Jersey Assembly on March 23, 2017.

The New Jersey Assembly Bill (A-4243) would bar public entities and public employees from entering into confidential settlements of whistleblower claims asserted under the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, except where the settlement involves a matter concerning national security.

A public entity is defined as the state and any county, municipality, district, public authority, public agency, and any other political subdivision or public body in the state.

The bill provides that such settlements constitute public records under the open public records laws. While such information is often available under existing laws, such as the Open Public Records Act (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.), the proposed legislation requires that all settlement agreements be prominently displayed on the Attorney General’s website, in a searchable format, and include:

  1. the date the agreement was signed;

  2. the names of the parties;

  3. a description of the claims;

  4. the total amount each party is obligated to pay; and

  5. the total amount of compensation for outside legal counsel.

Supporters of the bill maintain that it will prevent public entities from keeping information involving the expenditure of public funds on such litigation confidential.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019

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About this Author

Richard J. Cino, Jackson Lewis, Corporate Governance Attorney, Contract Breach Lawyer
Office Managing Principal

Richard J. Cino is the Office Managing Principal of the Morristown and Monmouth County, New Jersey, offices of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is also Co-Leader of the Corporate Governance and Internal Investigations Practice Group.

Mr. Cino has a broad area of practice and responsibility with the firm. He acts as lead counsel on all aspects of employment litigation, including defending claims of whistleblowers under various state and federal laws including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, sexual harassment, all types of discrimination,...

973-451-6324
Joseph C. Toris, Confidentiality, non-competition agreement, restrictive covenants, Jackson LEwis Law Firm
Of Counsel

Joseph C. Toris is Of Counsel in the Morristown, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is experienced with complex issues surrounding employee disloyalty, enforceability of confidentiality and non-competition agreements, and other restrictive covenants. Mr. Toris regularly participates in emergent matters seeking to impose or defend against the imposition of restraints in the state courts of New Jersey.

He is also experienced with Sarbanes-Oxley issues including the defense of whistleblower claims under the Act. Mr. Toris also assists clients in the development of codes of ethics and business conduct and corporate compliance programs, management and employee training and internal investigations.

973-451-6347
Katerina R. Mantell, Jackson Lewis, Employer Representation, Workplace Litigation Lawyer,
Associate

Katerina R. Mantell is an Associate in the Morristown, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters.

While attending law school, Ms. Mantell participated in two law school clinics, the Investor Advocacy Project and Seton Hall’s Southern District of New York Representation in Mediation Practicum. As lead student advocate in the SDNY Mediation Clinic, Ms. Mantell represented pro se litigants in employment matters and successfully mediated these matters to achieve the highest...

973-451-6338