On behalf of our client, suit was filed again a NJ Nonprofit business serving people with disability with funds received from the New Jersey State Department of Human Services.
Our client became employed with the company. Sometime in 2012, she wrote a letter to the Department of Human Service complaining about certain alleged misuse of state funds, diverting state funds towards salaries of upper management, and other complaints relating to her working environment. Our client alleged that as a result of her complaints, the Department of Human Services conducted an investigation of the company. One month later, our client was fired. In a subsequent termination letter, the company advised our client that she was being terminated for violating its policy by positing pictures and personal information of patients on Facebook. However, the Facebook postings were five (5) months before our client’s letter to the Department of Human Service, and our client’s Facebook activity was used a pretext (that is, an excuse) to terminate our client.
The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) prohibits an employer from disciplining an employee (including termination) because the employee discloses or threaten to disclose an activity that the employee reasonably believe to be a violation of any law, rule or regulation relating to, among others, deception or misrepresenting relating to fraud or concerning the public health, safety or welfare or protection of the environment.
The lawsuit alleged that the defendants terminated our client as a result of her complaint to the New Jersey State Department of Human Service relating to misuse of state funds, unjustified salary increases for defendants’ directors and patient care. The lawsuit also alleged that the individual defendants aided and abetted each other in terminating our client, as well as invading our client’s privacy by accessing her Facebook profile.