On March 22nd, Laura Mattiacci and her co-counsel Rahul Munshi of Console Law Offices won a verdict of $1.67 million in a New Jersey CEPA case. The case was tried in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. Laura and Rahul tried the case on behalf of Marla Pietrowski against defendant the Kintock Group.
Ms. Pietrowski worked as a senior case manager at the Kintock Group, a corporation that provides transition services to ex-convicts recently released from prison. The jury found she reasonably believed that a manager was engaged in drug activity and violated public policy when he brought his child to the facility where convicted child predators were assigned to report, that she objected to or disclosed the conduct, and that the termination she suffered afterwards was retaliatory.
Ms. Pietrowski, who made approximately $44,000 a year, was awarded full back pay of $77,988.75, pain and suffering damages of $100,000, and the jury imposed $1.5 million in punitive damages. Ms. Mattiacci said that she will also be filing a fee petition because under the CEPA statute the prevailing party is entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs, which would bring the total judgment to over $2.0 million.
Regarding the verdict, Ms. Pietrowski said that she feels vindicated. “I feel so thankful to the jury for their ability to see that I was the victim of abuse of power and that employees who stand up to their employers and voice concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace should not fear being fired,” Ms. Pietrowski said.
New Jersey’s “Conscientious Employee Protection Act” (also known as “CEPA”) protects employees from retaliation or firing by their employer if the employee objects to or refuses to participate in any activity, policy or practice which the employee reasonably believes is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy concerning the public health, safety or welfare or protection of the environment. See § 34:19-3(c)(3).
If you believe you have been fired or retaliated against at work because you have made complaints of illegal or improper activity, contact CEPA employment lawyer Laura Mattiacci today, or contact John Mattiacci.