It’s been 13 long years since Brian Royster first realized that his whistleblower activities had resulted in retaliation against him. He took his fight for justice to court, pursuing it all the way to the state’s Supreme Court. Now his discrimination case has been resolved with a settlement that sees the state of New Jersey paying him $1.4 million.
Ironically, the story began when the state trooper was working in the Equal Employment Opportunity Office. At the time he noticed that state authorities were exhibiting racial bias in how they handled misconduct investigations. After he reported what he called “a pattern and practice” of racial discrimination, he began being denied promotions. He was also transferred half a dozen times over a 7-year period. The impact of the retaliation took a physical toll on him. He was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease ulcerative colitis, which is often triggered by stress.
When Royster was diagnosed with his chronic condition, he requested a health accommodation to minimize additional stress, but instead the State Police responded by assigning him into even more stressful situations. He finally filed a lawsuit claiming a violation of the state’s whistleblower protection law, which makes it illegal to take retaliatory action against anybody who reports discrimination, as well as for violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).
His pursuit of justice did not provide an immediately positive result. Though he initially won a $1.07 million verdict in 2012, the state appealed the verdict and an appeals court threw out the verdict. It was later partially reinstated the verdict for $500,000 plus almost $100,000 in interest on the discrimination claims, and the discussions between him and the state continued until the $1.4 million settlement was reached on the whistleblower charges.
Don’t be afraid to blow the whistle at work if you see something that you know is wrong. If you or a loved one are afraid of being retaliated against at work due to being a whistleblower the employment lawyers at Schorr & Associates can help protect your workplace rights.