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New Jersey Supreme Court: No Job-Duties Exception to CEPA Protection

07/16/2015

Yesterday, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Lipmann v. Ethicon Inc., No. A-65/66-13 (N.J. filed July 15, 2015), confirming the expansive coverage of one of the most far-reaching and widely interpreted whistleblower laws in the country, New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1.  The Court affirmed the Appellate Division’s determination that so-called “watchdog employees”— those “whose job duties entail knowing or securing compliance with a relevant standard of care and knowing when an employer’s actions or proposed actions deviate from that standard of care”—are protected by CEPA from adverse action for “doing their jobs.”  Specifically, the New Jersey Supreme Court found “no support in CEPA’s language, construction, or application in [governing] case law that supports that watchdog employees are stripped of whistleblower protection as a result of their position or because they are performing their regular job duties.”

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