Public employees in New Jersey may soon have additional protections if they choose to “blow the whistle” on coworkers, bosses or anyone else who they believe is allegedly wasting public funds or abusing government power. The NJ Senate Labor Committee approved a bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, which seeks to enhance state workers protections.
A year after “Bridgegate,” the four-day gridlocked Fort Lee – George Washington Bridge debacle, Sen. Weinberg said state and local employees must be able to report abuse and not fear for their jobs. “The joint legislative committee hearings on the George Washington Bridge lane closures opened a window into the abuse that can take place in government…The culture of fear at the Port Authority was so pervasive that many employees acted against their better judgment for four days as traffic gridlocked Fort Lee,” said Sen. Weinberg (D-Bergen).
She said public employees must be encouraged to report abuse and not be afraid of retaliation in the workplace. The bill, S-768, seeks to expand protections under NJ’s whistleblower protection act, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA). If the bill is passed into law (it is currently under review by the full Senate), state workers would have additional protection if they report, testify against or refuse to participate in actions they believe are abusing power.
CEPA, the current law only protects employees if they report something that can be considered criminal behavior. Sen. Weinberg’s bill extends that protection to waste and abuse that isn’t necessarily considered criminal but can be considered an abuse of power or waste of taxpayer funds.
Employees must feel safe to report government abuse without fearing retribution. The experienced whistleblower protection lawyers at Begelman & Orlow, P. C. are dedicated to protecting people who are willing to stand up for what’s right and report abuse. Call us for a free consultation about your case. We represent people in New Jersey and throughout the entire United States. We are on your side.