The Conscientious Employee Protection Act, commonly known as “CEPA,” is New Jersey's whistleblower statute. Recent amendments have imposed important new requirements on employers, and failure to meet them could jeopardize the employer's defense of a whistleblower complaint.
CEPA applies to all New Jersey employers. In general, it prohibits employers from taking retaliatory employment action against employees who “blow the whistle” by reporting to supervisors or public authorities corporate conduct that the employee reasonably believes violates the law.
CEPA already requires that advisory notices be posted in the workplace, in English and Spanish. Now even more must be done.
At least once per year employers must provide their employees with written or electronic notice of rights and obligations under CEPA, and of the employer's internal complaint procedures. How does the employer accomplish this in a way that satisfies the law? The law, unsurprisingly, doesn't tell us. Some logical options are e-mail, distributions at meetings, payroll notices, and personal distribution at annual reviews. What is right for your company will depend on how you do business. But if your business is in a regulated industry, or manufactures or distributes products that could affect public safety, you should pay special attention to ensure that CEPA requirements are complied with fully and consistently.