Inspired by the Bridgegate scandal, New Jersey legislators have introduced an amendment to New Jersey’s whistleblower statute which would extend whistleblower protections to employees who disclose “any waste of public funds or incidents of governmental abuse or mismanagement.” The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Loretta Weinberg, noted that the atmosphere of intimidation at the Port Authority kept many potential whistleblowers from exposing the four day lane tie-up at the George Washington Bridge last year. Said Sen. Weinberg: “We need to encourage public employees who suspect or witness government abuse or waste to come forward. Extending whistleblower protections will provide state and local workers with the rights they need to safely report government corruption and wrongdoing without fear of retaliation.”
The bill would extend current statutory whistleblower protections to employees who disclose waste of public funds or incidents of governmental abuse or mismanagement. Under the present law, such incidents may not rise to the level of illegality needed to trigger whistleblower protection.
Kudos to our legislature for attempting to extend the rights of whistleblowers in our state. Whistleblowers take huge risks with their careers when they come forward with legitimate complaints about corporate wrongdoing. The state government should be held to the same standards as private industry.