Most people who use mass transit to commute to work may take safety standards for granted. An employee hired by NJ Transit, as the chief compliance officer, was to assure that the rail system complied with all legal requirements in March 2017. This comes after a NJ Transit train crashed into the Hoboken Terminal, fatally injuring one woman. The employee was soon terminated within six months after being hired.
The employee testified at a legislative hearing about safety at the transit company. He went on record saying that he believed NJ Transit was non-compliant and that he had noted serious safety violations and concerns while working there. He testified that when he raised this and other issues, he was told not to put anything in writing and was then terminated by the company.
Employer Cites Whistleblower Employee for Misrepresentation
NJ Transit denied the employee’s allegations of safety violations and retaliation. The case went on the offensive early and sought a declaration by the Superior Court of New Jersey in Essex County that the employee was not shielded by the Conscientious Employee Protection Act. This New Jersey law protects employees who disclose or threaten to disclose to a supervisor or public body any activity that they reasonably believe is a violation of the law. In the complaint, NJ Transit claimed that the employee provided false and misleading testimony to the legislature and that he was fired for reasons other than for protected whistleblower activity.
Employee Cites Employer for Whistleblower Violations
There are several whistleblower protections available to employees who witness violations of the law. Under the Federal Railroad Safety Act, a railroad carrier is prohibited from discharging, demoting, suspending, reprimanding, or discriminating against an employee for reporting a hazardous safety or security condition. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, there are whistleblower protections to protect workers from retaliation for raising safety and health concerns. The employee filed complaints of violations of these laws against NJ Transit with the U.S. Department of Labor. The department enforces these and many other whistleblower protection statutes.
Most whistleblower cases, as well as cases involving wrongful termination, allow a relatively short period to file a claim. It is important to seek advice from an experienced whistleblower lawyer, so you can file a timely claim and protect your rights.
South Jersey Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Those Affected by Wrongful TerminationIf you have been retaliated against for raising safety concerns, do not delay seeking professional help. Our experienced South Jersey employment lawyers can sort through the whistleblower protection laws and provide you with the representation you need. Contact Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. at 215-569-1999 or submit an online contact form. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas and throughout New Jersey.