Employee’s Disclosure Of Customer Information In The Face Of Suspected Child Neglect Held Protected Activity Under CEPA, District Of New Jersey Holds

In Stapleton v. DSW, Inc., 2013 WL 1137119 (D.N.J., March 20, 2013), a retail store employee observed a child whom she suspected was being neglected by her parent, a shopper in the store. The employee lodged a report with the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency, using confidential customer information to identify the shopper. The employee was discharged for violation of the store’s policy against disclosing confidential information, and filed suit for wrongful termination under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA). In ruling on the employer’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the New Jersey District Court held that the employee’s refusal to abide by the employer’s confidentiality policy under the circumstances constituted a protected activity under CEPA, which protects employees who refuse to comply with a company rule incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy. 

Note: This article was published in the September 2013 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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