New Jersey Wrongful Termination
Most people who work in New Jersey are at-will employees, meaning their employers are free to terminate them, with no warning, for almost any reason. But when an employer dismisses a worker in violation of the law or in violation of a contract, the worker can take legal action. A wrongful termination attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options.
Were You Wrongfully Terminated?
How can you tell if you were wrongfully dismissed from a job? In some instances it may be obvious, at other times it may be more difficult to determine if you've been wrongfully terminated. Let's look at the most common types of wrongful termination.
It is illegal for employers to terminate employees for discriminatory reasons. Federal discrimination laws ban job discrimination based on age (if a worker is at least 40), sex, religion, race, skin color, national origin, genetic information, disability or pregnancy.
New Jersey discrimination laws go even further, also banning employment discrimination based on marital status or civil union status, sexual orientation and gender identity, among others. If you've been wrongfully terminated as a result of discrimination, your employment lawyer can help you file a discrimination complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
It's also wrong for an employer to terminate you in violation of a written or implied job contract. Your wrongful termination lawyer can help you file a breach of contract lawsuit in New Jersey civil court.
If you're a union member working in a job covered by a collective bargaining agreement and were terminated in violation of that agreement, speak to your union representative. With an attorney's help, you can try to resolve your issue through the union's grievance procedure or in court, if necessary.
There are two other exceptions to the at-will employment laws: The public policy exception and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The public policy exception says that an employer can't fire a worker for exercising a right that's granted to them by state law. For example, it would be a violation of the public policy exception for a company to terminate an employee for reporting for jury duty or filing a workers' compensation claim.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures:
"A minority of states recognize an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in employment relationships. Judicial interpretations of this covenant have varied from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice. Examples of bad faith terminations include an employer firing an older employee to avoid paying retirement benefits or terminating a salesman just before a large commission on a completed sale is payable. There have been relatively few cases in which employers were found liable under an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing theory."
Find & Hire Local New Jersey Wrongful Termination Attorneys
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