Upon a violation of any of the provisions of this act, an aggrieved employee or former employee may, within one year, institute a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction. Upon the application of any party, a jury trial shall be directed to try the validity of any claim under this act specified in the suit. All remedies available in common law tort actions shall be available to prevailing plaintiffs. These remedies are in addition to any legal or equitable relief provided by this act or any other statute. The court shall also order, where appropriate and to the fullest extent possible:
In addition, the court or jury may order: the assessment of a civil fine of not more than $10,000 for the first violation of the act and not more than $20,000 for each subsequent violation, which shall be paid to the State Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund; punitive damages; or both a civil fine and punitive damages. In determining the amount of punitive damages, the court or jury shall consider not only the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the employee, but also the amount of all damages caused to shareholders, investors, clients, patients, customers, employees, former employees, retirees or pensioners of the employer, or to the public or any governmental entity, by the activities, policies or practices of the employer which the employee disclosed, threatened to disclose, provided testimony regarding, objected to, or refused to participate in.
N.J.S. § 34:19-5