Understanding Wrongful Termination Protections In New Jersey
Getting fired is never easy, practically or emotionally. There are many firings that feel wrong or unjust but are perfectly legal. But there are also instances in which the termination was illegal. Understanding the difference isn’t always easy, which is why it is a good idea to consult with an experienced employment law attorney.
At Traub Law, I bring more than 30 years of experience to each client and case. If you have questions or concerns about what may have been wrongful termination, please contact my firm to discuss your rights and options.
Firing For Discriminatory Or Retaliatory Reasons
Employment in New Jersey is typically considered “at will,” meaning that either party can terminate the employment relationship for nearly any reason and at any time, with or without notice. The word “nearly” is an important qualifier, however, because some termination actions are illegal.
All of us are protected against discrimination under state laws and federal laws like the 1964 Civil Rights Act. These laws create protected classes or characteristics. A partial list includes race/ethnicity, gender, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, religion, veteran status and disability. Just as an employer is prohibited from using these to discriminate in hiring, they are also prohibited in using them as a basis for firing.
It is also illegal to fire someone in retaliation for exercising their workplace rights or to fire them in violation of public policy. Examples would include firing an employee:
- For filing a sexual harassment or discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a state agency
- For filing a workplace safety complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or a state agency
- For taking time off to vote or serve jury duty
- For taking protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act
- For taking leave to fulfill military or National Guard service obligations
This is only a partial list. There are many more examples that might apply in your case.
Employment Protections For Whistleblowers
Whistleblowers fulfill an important, difficult and socially beneficial role. They expose the illegal or discriminatory acts of their employers – acts that, in some cases, could not be exposed in any other way. Whistleblowers can also simply be employees who refuse to participate in said activities, which is also beneficial to the public good. In certain circumstances, whistleblowers may also disseminate information for the public good.
If you are a whistleblower and were fired because of it, my firm can help you fight back. Please do not wait to contact my office, however, as you may have just one year to bring legal action under New Jersey’s whistleblower laws.
Learn More During An Initial Consultation
Traub Law has offices in East Brunswick and Princeton, and is available to represent clients throughout Mercer County and the state of New Jersey. Wondering if you have a case? You can find out by scheduling an initial consultation. To get started, call me at 609-318-9053 or reach me online.