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The Pierce Doctrine and Whistleblowing

Whistleblowers that miss CEPA’s one-year statute of limitations may still have a claim. Under the Pierce doctrine, which is a judge-made law, employees may bring wrongful termination lawsuits against employers who wrongfully discharge them if the discharge is “contrary to a clear mandate of public policy.” A to be a “clear mandate of public policy” a policy must reflect statutory, regulatory or decisional law.  Although, Pierce generally offers less protection than CEPA,  Pierce claims have a two-year statute of limitations, thus a discharged employee may have a pierce claim even if a CEPA claim is time-barred.