Evaluating Whistleblower and Wrongful Discharge Claims
An employee cannot be discharged for “refusing to perform an act that is a violation of a clear mandate of public policy.” A whistleblower is a person who exposes misconduct, alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring in an organization. An employee is not compelled to perform illegal acts and generally cannot be disciplined for reporting them to a governmental entity. Law Retaliatory Discharge of Employee for Refusing to Perform or Participate in Unlawful or Wrongful Acts, 104 A.L.R.5th 1. See Diagostino v. Johnson & Johnson, 133 N.J. 516 (1993). In evaluating whistleblower claims, the following criteria can use used :
1. Violation Is the law or rule violation clear and what material shows that.
2. Complaint Was a governmental agency contacted.
3. Management Was a complaint made to the Human Resources Department or management.
4. Performance A company may defend the claim saying the employee’s performance was substandard. Does that defense involve his participation in unlawful activities or other areas.
5. Damages Was there psychological or other treatment.
6. Consequences Was the legal violation serious; what are the real or potential consequences.
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