You worked hard to get your job, and you work hard to keep your job. If you do not have an employment contract, there is no guarantee your hard work will keep you employed, but New Jersey law protects you from losing your job for discriminatory reasons.
If you have an employment contract, a job termination in breach of that contract’s terms could entitle you to damages. If you believe your employer fired you for wrongful or discriminatory reasons, wrongful termination lawyers in NJ can help you recover your losses.
When Can an Employer Legally Fire You?
New Jersey is generally an at-will employment state. This means that you can leave your job or your employer can legally fire you for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. If you have an employment contract, your employer can generally terminate you only if you have breached one of the employment contract terms.
When Is Job Termination Illegal?
Whether the termination of your job was illegal or not depends on the nature of your employment.
Termination in Violation of an Employment Contract
Every employee is entitled to non-discriminatory employment practices, but those with employment contracts have increased protection under contract law. Employment contracts can increase protection by guaranteeing your job for a set period of time when you fulfill your contract obligations. Your contract could also guarantee you wages, fringe benefits, grievance procedures, and graduated disciplinary procedures for mistakes you make at work.
Employment contracts are not required and are highly customizable. You should make sure you understand all the terms and benefits of your particular contract. If your employer denies you benefits or fires you in violation of the terms of your employment contract, you can sue them for relief.
The relief you can receive from a wrongful termination in violation of an employment contract includes recovery of lost wages and associated financial losses, cancellation of your obligations under the contract, and court enforcement of the contract.
Your employment contract does not have to be formal. Your employee manual can be an employment contract if it promises job security. If your employee manual promises job security and has specific provisions about the procedures your employer follows before they terminate employment, you can sue your employer for failing to follow those procedures.
Termination in Violation of Public Policy
The nature of at-will employment is unpredictable and can rightfully set any employee on edge. Fortunately, federal and New Jersey laws do not leave at-will employees without protection. While an employer could legally fire you for a “bad reason,” that “bad reason” cannot be a discriminatory or illegal reason.
It is illegal and discriminatory for an employer to fire any employee because of their membership in a protected class. Protected class membership that cannot be the reason for job termination includes:
- National origin,
- Marital status,
- Domestic partnership status,
- Civil union status,
- Gender identity,
- Gender expression,
- Liability for military service,
- Displaying of an American flag,
- Affectional orientation,
- Sexual orientation,
- Atypical cellular trait,
- Atypical blood trait, or
- Genetic information (including refusal to submit to genetic testing).
If your employer incorrectly believes you are the member of a protected class and fires you based on that incorrect belief, you can still receive relief for your perceived membership in a protected class. It is also unlawful for a labor union to exclude you based on your membership in a protected class.
NJ wrongful termination lawyers can identify instances of employment discrimination that give you grounds to file a claim and recover damages.
What Remedies Can You Receive for Wrongful Termination?
If you prevail in a wrongful termination claim, you can recover damages for your economic or wage loss, damages for pain and suffering, punitive damages, and attorney fees. You can also receive injunctive relief against your employer’s illegal actions.
There are many factors that determine whether these types of relief are available in your claim and to what extent you can access them. A wrongful termination lawyer in NJ can determine your best options for relief to maximize your recovery.
Do These Laws Apply Only to Terminations?
If your employer mistreats you for discriminatory reasons or breaches your employment contract, you don’t have to wait until a job termination to receive relief. The laws applicable to wrongful termination in NJ also apply to adverse employer decisions in hiring and job advancement.
Your employer can be liable for damages if they breach a contract or have discriminatory or retaliatory reasons when:
- Refusing to hire you,
- Terminating your job,
- Requiring you to retire,
- Denying you equal pay,
- Denying you certain conditions of employment,
- Denying you certain privileges of employment, or
- Denying you a promotion.
If you suspect that an employer denied you a job or a promotion in breach of a contract or because of your membership in a protected class, you should contact a lawyer immediately. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer about discrimination in the workplace. An employer cannot legally punish you for filiing a discrimination claim.
You May Not Have Long to File a Wrongful Termination Claim
You can file a workplace discrimiation claim at the state and federal level, but the time to file is short. You have only 180 days to file a job discrimination claim with the New Jesery Division on Civil Rights.
If you want to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you generally have 180 days to file. Sometimes you have up to 300 days to file an EEOC complaint, but that depends on your case’s facts. 180 days can pass very quickly while you try to find a new job or try to cope with a hostile work environment.
If you were denied work benefits or terminated in violation of an employment contract, you have six years to sue. Wrongful termination lawyers in NJ can determine the deadlines applicable to your claim.
Contact a Wrongful Termination Lawyer Immediately
You do not have time to waste when it comes to protecting your livelihood. The wrongful termination lawyers at O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble are tough on discriminatory employers and compassionate toward your needs. With the respect of our peers and our clients, we have the know-how and professionalism to get the results you need.
Contact us by email or call us at 908-928-9200 for a consultation.
This high profile suit involved the wrongful termination of an employee because he would not participate in an unethical scheme.
Long time employee of a small business was called racial and ethnic slurs by a co-worker. The company failed to take action and terminated our client instead.
Discuss Your Case with Our Wrongful Termination Attorneys Today
We believe in the importance of fair and equal workplaces. If your termination was wrongful, we want to help you fight for justice. Our experienced team may be able to help you reach a financial settlement with your employer to compensate for discriminatory treatment. Contact the attorneys of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble today to discuss wrongful termination and potential negotiations. It is important to contact an attorney early to ensure the best possible outcome. Contact us online or call at (908) 928-9200 or 1-800-586-5817.