A new decision from New Jersey’s Appellate Division recognizes that an employer can be liable for retaliating against an employee who filed an anonymous whistleblower complaint if the evidence supports the inference that it could have realized she was the one who filed the complaint.
For 14 years, Carol Smith worked for Konica Minolta Business Solutions (“KMBS”), primarily as a sales representative. In 2018, Ms. Smith reported to her supervisors that over a million dollars of equipment had been shipped to a warehouse, and KMBS had recorded it as installed and paid employees a commission for selling that equipment, but the equipment actually remained in the warehouse and KMBS was improperly using it as collateral for bank loans.
Ms. Smith’s supervisors failed to address her complaint, and instead began harassing her. Accordingly, she eventually reported the fraudulent activity anonymously, through KMBS’ employee whistleblower hotline.