Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Termination And Unemployment
When potential clients contact Traub Law, they often ask questions about the legality or illegality of a firing decision. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. After reading this page, feel free to contact my office with your own additional questions.
Can my employer retaliate against me?
Retaliation is a negative workplace consequence (firing, demotion, pay cut, etc.) as punishment for asserting your workplace rights. In most cases, it is illegal. That being said, it can sometimes be difficult to prove that an adverse employment action was due to retaliation rather than simply circumstance. If you have reason to believe you were a victim of relation, you can speak to your manager or the Human Resources department. If the problem isn’t resolved or adequately addressed, you should speak to an attorney about your options.
Can my employer fire me without cause (at will) in New Jersey?
Like most other states, New Jersey is an “employment-at-will” state, meaning that either the employer or the employee can terminate the relationship at any time, without notice, for basically any reason or no reason at all. There are two significant caveats to this rule, however. The first is if the termination was for a discriminatory reason prohibited by state or federal law (discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, etc.). The second is if the termination was in violation of a specific contract between the employee and employer.
What qualifies as wrongful termination?
In New Jersey, wrongful termination and wrongful discharge have likely occurred if you were fired:
- For discriminatory reasons prohibited under state or federal law
- In retaliation for asserting your workplace rights or being a whistleblower
You may also be able to bring a legal claim if you were fired in breach of an existing contract between you and your employer, the terms of which deviated from at-will employment. This may not always be classified as “wrongful termination,” but it would nonetheless be legally actionable.
Can I collect unemployment in New Jersey?
Unemployment is available to those who qualify, and there are several important criteria for qualification. First, you must be unemployed through no fault of your own. This means you did not quit voluntarily and were not fired for cause. There are exceptions to the quitting prohibition, such as quitting due to a hostile work environment, employer fraud or employer misconduct.
There are numerous other requirements for eligibility as well, which can be found on nearly any state government website.
Is there a statute of limitations on bringing a wrongful termination lawsuit?
In many cases of illegal workplace actions, including wrongful termination, plaintiffs generally have just two years to file a lawsuit under the statute of limitations. If you are filing a retaliation claim related to your work as a whistleblower, however, you have just one year to file a claim. Generally speaking, you should not wait to pursue a legal claim if you feel you have one.
Have Your Own Questions? Contact Me For Answers.
Traub Law represents clients throughout New Jersey. If you’d like to discuss your case or address specific questions not covered on this page, call either of the firm’s offices (in East Brunswick and Princeton) at 609-318-9053. You can also fill out my online contact form.