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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Workers' compensation claims are private disputes and not subject to whistleblowing protection

The US District Court for the District of New Jersey recently ruled that an employer did not violate CEPA  by retaliating against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

A casino employee, whose position as a “singing bartender” was eliminated, she was demoted, and ultimately terminated,  while on Family and Medical Leave Act ( FMLA) . The employee brought a claim under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA).

The Court held that the complaint should be dismissed because the filing of a workers’ compensation  claim is not protected by the statutory provisions of CEPA.  “....A worker’s compensation claim involves a claim for benefits and compensation for an on-the-job injury. Such a claim ‘is more akin to a private dispute then an attempt to publicly exposed unlawful conduct by an employer,’ and does not constitute protected whistleblowing activity under CEPA….”

Morro v. DGMB Casino LLC, 112 F.Supp 260 (D.N.J. 2015)