Bergen County

Wrongful Termination Lawyer

Suing Your Employer for Wrongful Termination in NJ

You may have justification to file a claim against your employer if you were the victim of wrongful termination, which is sometimes referred to as “wrongful discharge” or “wrongful dismissal.” Therefore, it’s important to understand New Jersey’s employment and workplace discrimination laws.

New Jersey is an “at-will” employment state, which means employees can leave their jobs at any time, for any reason. On the other hand, it also means employers can fire employees at any time, for almost any reason.

While employers have significant flexibility in their hiring and firing decisions, state and federal laws create exceptions that protect certain workers. Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and related laws, it is illegal to fire an employee solely because:

  • He or she possesses certain traits. These traits, which are known as “protected classes,” include:
    • Age
    • Ancestry
    • Cellular/blood traits
    • Color
    • Disability
    • Gender identity
    • National origin
    • Nationality
    • Race
    • Religion (“creed”)
    • Sex
    • Sexual orientation
  • He or she took certain actions. These actions, which are called “protected activity,” include:
    • Filing a complaint about sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace
    • Reporting unsafe working conditions to OSHA or other agencies
    • Serving in the military

The LAD is enforced by New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights, while Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). With a few exceptions, these laws generally prohibit firing an employee because, among other reasons, he or she:

  • Belongs to any racial or ethnic group
  • Is over a certain age
  • Possesses any type of religious beliefs
  • Reported a prior incident of workplace discrimination, or an employer’s illegal activities
  • Refused sexual advances or demands for favors

Damages in Wrongful Firing Lawsuits

If you were wrongfully terminated, you are likely experiencing financial hardship due to the sudden and unexpected loss of income. However, you may be able to recover compensation by filing a lawsuit against your employer with help from an experienced wrongful termination lawyer in Bergen County.

Compensation in a lawsuit is also referred to as “damages.” To recover damages for wrongful termination in New Jersey, you must prove that you were fired because you belonged in a protected class (such as an age group), or because you took part in a protected activity (such as filing a complaint against your employer).

Your employer will likely attempt to cite valid reasons for your termination, such as poor job performance, which makes it essential for you to be prepared with as much evidence as possible. Your attorney will help to gather, analyze, and present the evidence on your behalf, such as performance reviews, employment contracts, records involving your wages or salary, reference letters, and records related to training.

If you can prove that you were fired for reasons that violated state or federal anti-discrimination laws, you may be awarded damages by the court. These damages may include:

  • Lost benefits, such as pension plans, 401(k) plans, medical insurance, dental insurance, and stock options
  • Lost earnings, including overtime pay
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress

In certain cases, it may also be possible to recover “punitive” damages. However, because punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant – in this case, your employer – they are only available in cases where the defendant took particularly egregious and extreme actions. Moreover, New Jersey employment laws only allow punitive damages to be awarded in cases where upper management participated in the discrimination.

Bergen County Work Discrimination Attorney Handling Wrongful Termination Claims

No one should have to suffer the pain of discrimination – especially not in an environment that is supposed to be professional. If you or your spouse was fired for discriminatory reasons, or if you were fired as retaliation for whistleblowing, you should explore your legal options with an experienced wrongful termination attorney in Bergen County. For a free legal consultation about wrongful termination lawsuits in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi online, or call today at (973) 453-4060.

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Law Office of Usmaan Sleemi

New Jersey Office:
90 E Halsey Rd,
Suite 309,
Parsippany, New Jersey 07054

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