NJ SUPREME COURT ISSUES DECISION CLARIFYING SCOPE OF RELIEF AVAILABLE NJLAD AND CEPA, EMOTIONAL DISTRESS PROOFS

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Yesterday’s decision by Justice Helen Hoens of the New Jersey Supreme Court in Battaglia v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 2013 WL 3716939 ( July 17, 2013) provides some significant and necessary guidance on the scope of relief available under both the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -42 (“LAD”) and Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1 to -8 (“CEPA”), and is a must read for anyone who practices in the employment law arena or advises companies on employment practices.

Justice Hoens’ decision offers significant clarification and guidance in several areas, including: 1) can an employee recover under LAD for objecting to vulgar and offensive comments about women by a co-worker when it is undisputed that no women were subjected to the comments or claimed a hostile work environment because of them; and 2) can an employee recover under CEPA for “blowing the whistle” on what amount to violations of internal company policies, such as restrictions on credit card use; and 3) can an employee who makes a claim under LAD or CEPA recover for emotional distress damages that extend into the future without presenting any expert testimony?

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