Employment Law

What to do if You Uncover Illegal or Fraudulent Activities at Your Workplace?

Westfield employent lawyer Fred Shahrooz Scampato.

In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot. - Czesław Miłosz

 

What to do if you uncover illegal or fraudulent activities at your workplace?

Perhaps you work for a trucking company and your employer is intentionally encouraging you to avoid scale stations or ignoring your pleas to make your truck safe for highway use? Maybe you work for a pharmaceutical or medical device company which is intentionally bypassing applicable safety rules and regulations? Or possibly you work in an accounting department and your company is trying to defraud its clients or the government? Maybe you work for a nursing home or hospital that is taking in Medicare money but not really providing a service or providing one that is not medically necessary?

Sign Up for E-News

The purpose of this article is to advise you of the statutes that protect whistleblowers and allow them to file actions if they have been retaliated against for coming forward. 

Here are a couple of Federal and State Statutes that may apply in circumstances such as this:

The NJ Conscientious Employment Protection Act (“CEPA), provides protection from retaliatory action for employees who "blow the whistle" on their employers. The statute protects those employees who disclose or threatens to disclose to a supervisor or to a public body an activity, policy or practice of the employer that an employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, rule or regulation, a crime or a violation of public policy concerning the public health, safety, welfare or the environment. The law also protects employees who either refuse to participate in illegal activity or who speak out against the illegal activity of others at their place of employment.

The False Claims Act  (31 U.S.C. Sections 3729 through 3733). Under the Federal False Claims Act, a private person, with evidence of fraud against federal programs or contracts, may sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the United States Government. In these actions, also known as qui tam actions, the Federal Government has the right to intervene and take over the action. If the government declines to intervene, the private plaintiff may proceed on his or her own. The statute provides incentive to private plaintiffs to expose fraud, granting them between 15 percent and 25 percent of any award or settlement amount of the money owed to the government.

The New Jersey False Claims Act was enacted in 2008 and basically mirrors the Federal statute. Under the NJ False Claims act, private parties may sue on the state to prosecute third parties who have made false or fraudulent claims for money from the State government. As with the Federal statute, the state statute allows private plaintiffs to sue on behalf of the state and potentially receive a percentage of any verdict or settlement obtained in that suit.

If you suspect that your company or supervisor is violating safety rules and regulations, committing illegal or criminal acts or participating in submitting false bills or defrauding the government, then we recommend that you take the following steps:

1. Memorialize all of the whistleblowing event(s) in writing. Imagine yourself as a police detective writing an incident report. Describe in full detail what happened. Who was involved and who witnessed it? When did the incident(s) take place? Where did it/they take place? Write down, to the best of your ability, all of the specific conversations that took place. If you can recall exact dialogue, then place those sentences down in quotations. 

2. Place this writing in a personal journal that is kept at home, not at work. Sometimes if a person is wrongfully fired, they are immediately escorted out of the premises and are not allowed to return to their work station/office to retrieve their personal property.

3. If you want to send written information concerning the whistleblowing situation to your home computer or to your own attorney, then use your personal email account and not your work email. Your employer may legally be able to read all of your work emails. If you get fired before you can complain internally or to a public body, then you would most likely not be able to raise a claim or assert that you were fired in retaliation for whistleblowing activities.

4. Read your company's employee handbook, especially the sections on whistle blowing, open door policy, and/or business ethics and any specified complaint procedures. Typically your handbook will provide that the company welcomes you to communicate your concerns. The handbook will also identify the person(s) and/or title of the person(s) to whom you are to present your complaint.

5. Meet with an experienced employment law attorney who can provide you with advice as to whether you have a legitimate whistle blowing claim, and guide you through the steps of communicating the complaint either through internal channels or to the appropriate public body. Ideally, you should meet with an attorney before you communicate your complaint. This way, your attorney is in place in case your employer discourages you or retaliates against you for raising your complaint.  In that event, your attorney can quickly step forward and if need be litigate on your behalf or pursue alternative dispute resolution means.

Whether you are an employer looking for assistance with employment law issues, or an employee who feels unfairly treated, Fred Shahrooz Scampato can provide you with the benefit of his over twenty years experience in employment law. His goal is to prevent workplace problems from becoming costly litigation. He can be reached at Scampato@aol.com, Scampato@njlaborlaw.com or 908-301-9095. Visit his website at www.njlaborlaw.com.
 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Cranford Township Committee Approves Pet Adoption Ordinance Amid Strong Feedback

October 12, 2017

CRANFORD, NJ – Public comments grew contentious at Tuesday night’s Cranford Township Committee meeting as the committee approved an ordinance to restrict the sales of dogs and cats.

The ordinance requires that a pet shop may only offer for sale cats and dogs that the pet shop has obtained from an animal care facility or animal rescue organization. Additionally, a pet shop may not ...

A New Face in Politics: Lacey Rzeszowski

October 16, 2017

Maybe it’s the changing of the leaves and the cooler weather, the exciting race to the World Series, that brings to mind what Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot by watching.”  The last couple of months I have been observing a new face in politics — Lacey Rzeszowski, Democratic candidate for Assembly in our district (LD21).  What I have observed is a ...

Delivering Direct Rail Service to New York

October 13, 2017

From the arrival of the railroad in Westfield in 1839 up to the year 2014, there was no direct train service to Manhattan. For 175 long years, no mayor or municipal body, of either party, in the dozen or so towns along what is now the Raritan Valley Line (RVL), could find a way to deliver that service.  Mayor Skibitsky's administration did.

The RVL is not electrified, and diesel ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, October 17, 3:00 PM

Livingston Avenue School, Cranford

Cranford Community Blood Drive

Giving Back Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_406726001ccea6f98c7a_mini_magick20171006-2428-om1rr8

Wed, October 18, 7:30 PM

Westfield High School, Westfield

BOE Candidate’s Night

Education

Thu, October 19, 2:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

Retired & Senior Volunteer (RSVP) Information ...

Giving Back

Audio: Point View's Dietze Talks Tax Reform and The Market on Bloomberg

October 16, 2017

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live on Bloomberg on how tax reform may impact the stock market!:

bloomberg.com/news/audio

For nearly 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Two Arrested in Bike Thefts, Car Reported Stolen & More

October 11, 2017

October 4, 2017 7:15 p.m.

A resident of the 100 block of Tudor Oval reported a theft of a bicycle. Victim stated that his daughter’s blue “Trek” bicycle was stolen by unknown actor(s) from a bicycle rack at the Westfield High School. This incident occurred on October 4, 2017 between 1:45 p.m. and 1:50 p.m.

 

October 4, 2017 6:58 p.m.

A resident of the 600 block ...

New Rate for Business Travel

If you or your employees are planning on traveling for business, you'll want to know that there are new per-diem rates for certain expenses, which are in effect from Oct. 1 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018.

 

New rates includes expenses for transportation industry meals and incidental expenses rates, among others.

 

What you need to know.

Dog Found in Westfield Monday

Dog found Monday morning at Dudley and Prospect. Taken to Westfield Police station. 

 

Tips Make Your Home Photo-Ready and Market-Worthy

You’re selling your home, or you’re starting to think about it, but your house hasn’t been updated or painted in years. You want it to look its best before presenting it to prospective buyers, but you don’t know where to begin.

Home Staging Tips
Sprucing up your home can be as simple as adding a new coat of paint, inside and out, or as extensive as interior renovation ...

Westfield 6th Grader Named Jets ‘Upstander of the Week’

Jackson Dowden, 6th grader at Edison Intermediate School in Westfield, has been selected the New York Jets Tri-State Upstander of the Week.  

Christine Cabrales, physical education teacher who nominated Jackson, stated, “Jackson was nominated by the Edison Physical Education staff because he influences people in a positive way. He proves that he is a role model for ...

Establishing, Revising And Enforcing Time-Sharing With Children

In all cases of divorce or separation where children are involved, the issue of time-sharing (previously referred to as “visitation”) is a significant issue to be addressed.  Unless the parents have agreed to an equal shared custodial arrangement, an appropriate schedule of time-sharing is particularly important for all those involved: the custodial parent, the non-custodial ...

Saving for Higher Education Part 2 – What is your savings strategy?

Most people want to save for their children’s education but what is the best strategy? 

There are three different savings strategies from which you can choose: 

1)         save for 100% of all education costs so that your child has no liability

2)         save a specific dollar amount and ...

Family Health

Second Opinion on Breast Cancer Program Offers Peace of Mind

A breast cancer diagnosis can change a person’s life. And during such devastating news, the sheer amount of information regarding treatment and follow-up care can quickly become overwhelming. However, patients are not alone in this fight. Atlantic Health System’s Breast Cancer Second Opinion Program at Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, Overlook Medical Center, is helping provide peace of ...

Westfield Area YMCA Announces Fall 2 Session Registration

Registration for the Westfield Area YMCA Fall 2 session program registration begins at 6:00pm on Thursday, Oct. 12 for Full members and at 7:30 a.m., Monday Oct.16 for Basic and Non-Members. The Fall 2 Session runs from Oct. 29 to Dec. 23.

Youth basketball league season is gearing up at the Y with a 3-week pre-season ...

What is Co-Dependency? Learn How to Establish Healthy Boundaries

October 15, 2017

JOIN OUR NEW GROUP

Mondays October 23 at 6:30 or Wednesday’s October 25 at 1:00 p.m.

Codependence is a false attachment to a person, place or thing. It becomes a false sense of importance. It is a learned behavior to take care of others’ needs at the expense of our own. It is driven by the excessive need for others’ approval.  Rather than being ...

'The Honeymooners' smart, snappy production

Smart, sassy production of ‘The Honeymooners’ takes off at Paper Mill

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – “And away we go” indeed. The creative team at the Paper Mill Playhouse has taken the seeds of “The Honeymooners” from 1950’s television and turned it into a smart, snappy musical.

Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton are still up to their get-rich-quick ...

The Chatham Library Was Once the Site of a Luxury Hotel

DID YOU KNOW that the Library of the Chathams sits on a site formerly occupied by a luxury hotel? And that the hotel’s livery stable stood facing Passaic Avenue, near where Memorial Pool currently sits?

Chatham was a popular destination during the Resort Era, which spanned from the 1880s through the start of World War I. The Fairview House opened its doors as a summer hotel for the ...

Obituaries

Oct 24, 1926 - Aug 14, 2017
Elizabeth H. List, 90, of Westfield and Cape May, NJ, died peacefully surrounded by her family ...
Read more

Roxbury Cops Nab Serial Con-Man After Foot Chase in Kenvil

October 16, 2017

ROXBURY, NJ – A serial criminal, who convinced a 78-year-old Kenvil woman to give him more than $30,000 for roof repairs she didn’t get, was arrested last week by Roxbury police following a dramatic foot chase, police said.

The man, Sonny Stanley, 43, of Gutenberg, was charged with obstruction of the administration of law, resisting arrest and theft by deception, police ...