A recent case from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reinforces the fact that an employee who objects to something he reasonably believes violates the law does not have to be correct to be protected by New Jersey’s whistleblower law, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”).
Police Officers Anthony Galiazzi, Charles Holland and John Williamson work for the Camden Police Department. They objected to the department’s “directed patrols” policy because they believed it violated New Jersey’s anti-quota law. Under Camden’s policy, police officers were required to speak to at least 18 (and in some instances at least 27) residents per shift for up to 15-20 minutes each.
Officers Galiazzi, Holland and Williamson objected to the directed patrols policy because they believed it violated New Jersey’s anti-quota law, which prevents police departments from requiring police officers to issue a minimum number of arrests or citations. Among other things, they claim Camden retaliated against them in violation of CEPA by transferring them from the elite unit to regular patrol duty, reducing their salaries, taking away vacation, placing limits on their sick leave and having the Internal Affairs unit investigate them.