Sweeney Measure To Help Protect Whistle Blowers Receives Final Legislative Approval

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Steve Sweeney that would protect employees who choose not to participate in deception or fraudulent behavior against shareholders, investors, clients and other bodies with interest in a corporate whistle blower’s company received final legislative approval today by the Assembly.

“This bill will help protect workers who have the integrity to stand up and report wrongdoing,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem, who chairs the Senate Labor Committee. “These honest workers are placing their jobs in jeopardy by speaking up about fraudulent practices on the part of their employers, and they need the protection of this bill in order to prevent retaliatory firing.”

Senator Sweeney’s measure, S-1886, would enhance the scope of the “Contentious Employee Protection Act” to include increased emphasis on the protection of employees who choose to disclose or refuse to participate in any activity which they feel may deceive or defraud shareholders, investors, clients, patients, customers and other groups who may have interest in that particular company.

In case of retaliatory firing of these employees, the measure would also provide for reinstatement of the employee to their original or a comparable position, compensation for lost wages and payment of legal fees. At the court’s leisure, they may also award civil fines and punitive damages.

This measure now heads to the Governor’s desk where his signature would make it State law.