Are You in the Healthcare Field?

Find Out How We Can Help »
[et_social_follow icon_style="slide" icon_shape="rectangle" icons_location="top" col_number="1" outer_color="dark"]
Millions Recovered For Our Clients No Fees Unless We Win

New Jersey Employment Attorney Sid Gold Represents Wrongfully Terminated Employee in Whistleblower Suit Against DSW

August 30th, 2013
Whistleblower Law

A former DSW employee has filed suit against the company after she was terminated for accessing a customer’s private information.  Mary Stapleton, an assistant manager at a DSW in Cherry Hill, NJ, was promptly fired after her HR department discovered that she had taken a customer’s name and address from their system and provided it to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency in order to file a complaint.

During one of Ms. Stapleton’s shifts in March of 2012, a woman came into DSW with her 22-month old daughter.  The woman proceeded to shop for hours while her daughter ran about the store unattended, damaging products and harassing other customers.  The young girl was clearly in need of a diaper change, but when Ms. Stapleton suggested this to the woman, she appeared confused and continued shopping.  After witnessing the woman threaten to hit the girl, Ms. Stapleton retrieved her contact information from the system and made the report.

Employee’s Conduct Protected Under Conscientious Employee Protection Act

Ms. Stapleton filed a wrongful termination suit against her employer. Her New Jersey employment lawyer, Valerie Weisman of Sidney L. Gold and Associates, argued that she was acting in order to protect the child’s welfare.  Her obligation to New Jersey state policy was greater than her obligation to DSW’s code of conduct, which is incompatible with these laws.   By firing her for her attempts to comply with state child welfare policies, the company is in violation of New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), which protects whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers.

DSW filed a motion to dismiss the wrongful termination suit because Ms. Stapleton failed to notify the company that their policy violated New Jersey state law.  The motion to dismiss was rejected, however, in an unprecedented opinion by the court.  The court opined that Ms. Stapleton did not need to provide notice, but is protected under the CEPA because of her refusal to comply with a policy she deemed unlawful.  In her wrongful termination claim, she does not have to prove that DSW’s confidentiality policy violated the law, but rather need only demonstrate a reasonable belief that the policy interfered with her legal obligation to protect the child’s welfare.

Furthermore, in refusing to dismiss her lawsuit, the court held that Ms. Stapleton does not have to disclose the potential violation to a public body in order to be protected by the CEPA.  This is the first time a District Court in New Jersey denied a defendant’s motion for this reason, and it is setting a precedent for future whistleblower cases by doing so.  Employees can seek protection under the CEPA simply by virtue of their refusal to act on a policy they believe is unlawful. Ms. Stapleton’s case is ongoing.

New Jersey Employment Attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Take On the Tough Wrongful Termination Cases

New Jersey’s CEPA is one of the most far-reaching whistleblower protection policies in the nation.  Unfortunately, employees in all industries still face retaliation for refusing to comply with policies that are unlawful.  If you have been wrongfully terminated or disciplinary action has been taken against you for refusing to act or voicing a reasonable complaint, an experienced employment law attorney can help protect your rights.

The Pennsylvania and New Jersey law firm of Sidney L. Gold & Associates focus exclusively on all areas of employment and labor law, including employment discrimination claims, whistleblower cases and wage & hour disputes. Our knowledgeable, experienced lawyers understand the complexities of employment law.  We will take you through every step of the case and help you achieve the maximum recovery for the injustices you have experienced. With offices conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to speak with a qualified employment attorney.

EMPLOYMENT LAW PRACTICE AREAS
View All Practices
Sidney L. Gold SuperLawyer 16 years
Top Rated Lawyers Legal Leaders
ASLA 2019 badge
ATA Lifetime
BBB Rating
Best Lawyers Award Badge
Best Lawyers Award Badge
Institute Visionary Circle Badge
Best Employment lawyers in Philadelphia
2019 American Trail Lawyers badge
Lead Counsel Rated
life time achievement
million dollar advocates badge
AV Peer Review Rated
Philly Happening
Top one badge
Silver Client Champion Award 2020
super lawyers badge
Bar Register 2021
Bar Register 2021 Seal
Elite Lawyer Badge
NAOATTY 2021 Distinguished Member Badge
MH Preeminent
Sid Gold Judicial Edition 2022
Sid Gold 2022-Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
Sid Gold Client Champion 2022

As Seen On

avvo lawyers.com Martindale Justia FindLaw
© 2022 Sidney L. Gold and Associates, P.C. All rights reserved. [ Site Map | Privacy Policy ]

Attorney Advertising Materials. Sidney L. Gold is responsible for the content of this website. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Website Accessibility: Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for people with disabilities. We are continually working to improve the accessibility of all content on our website and applying the relevant accessibility standards.

* The awards and accolades displayed on this website were issued to the attorneys, or the entire law firm by the respective providers of these honors. They are as follows, Avvo Inc., Super Lawyers®, Martindale Hubbell Peer Review Rated, ASLA Top 100 Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Legal Leaders Top Rated Lawyers, Bar Register Preeminent Lawyer, Happening List Winner, BBB Accredited Business, National Association of Distinguished Counsel Top 1 Percent, America's Top 100 Attorneys, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for law and policy, Best Lawyers, Lead Counsel Rated, Top Employment Lawyers in Philadelphia, Association of American Trial Lawyers Top 100 and Martindale Hubbell Client Champion Silver. No aspect of these advertisements have been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.