Some people say that a bill to expand whistleblower protections in NJ, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), does not go far enough. Others, including Cherry Hill qui tam lawyer Ross Begelman say that the proposed legislation (S-768) is sorely needed.
Begelman of the law firm Begelman & Orlow, P. C. represents whistleblowers in New Jersey and throughout the entire country. He maintains any law that expands protection for government whistleblowers is worthwhile.
At present, New Jersey Consciences Employee Protection Act (CEPA) protects public-sector workers from retaliation if they disclose, testify or refuse to participate in any action that they believe to be criminal in nature, fraudulent in nature or in violation of any law, rule or regulation. “The proposed amendment to the CEPA law in New Jersey extends those protections to complaints concerning the function of government when it comes to efficiency or wrong doing by the government itself,” said Mr. Begelman.
“This is important and overdue legislation,” he said. “It would allow public and non-public employees to raise issues concerning government efficiency, corruption or other inappropriate conduct and report those issues to their employers, whether private or non-private, without fear of retaliation and or economic harm.”
Begelman is one of many proponents of the bill that say that the only way to encourage people to become whistleblowers is to protect their careers and reputations. If they fear retribution, they will be hesitant to shine a line on government abuse. “Current law does not provide such protection and, therefore, employees who raise these types of issues do so at their own risk and therefore peril.”
There are several laws already on the books, which do protect whistle blowers, such as the State and Federal False Claims Act and CEPA. Begelman pointed out, that under the proposed legislation, there does not need to be actual fiscal harm to the government, he added, “employees who report the harm that extends to the taxpayers and citizens of this state when the government act in an inefficient manner or otherwise acts improperly, will now be protected from retaliation.”
The proposed enhancements to the law also encourage employees to raise these issues without fear of retaliation. “It allows them to put suggestions in the `suggestion box’ with protections in case the box tries to bite them when they do make the suggestions. It is just a good idea to protect people who in good faith act in the public interest. Those people are heroes and need and should receive our support and protection,” Mr. Begelman said.
If you or someone you know suspects someone of trying to defraud the government and taxpayers, contact the law firm of Begelman & Orlow, P. C.. Speak with Mr. Begelman about your case in a free consultation. He will be able to tell you if your suspicions are worth investigating and will be by your side every step of the way.