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What Falls Under Wrongful Termination?

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Broadly speaking, wrongful termination occurs when an employee is illegally fired, laid off, or otherwise discharged from their position. In New Jersey, businesses and organizations have wide discretion to make their own personnel decisions. An unfair firing or unfair layoff is not necessarily a wrongful termination. What falls under wrongful termination? Here, our New Jersey wrongful termination lawyer answers the questions by explaining our state’s at-will employment standard and provides examples of scenarios that can justify a wrongful termination claim 

Legal Background: New Jersey is an At-Will Employment State

New Jersey operates under an at-will employment standard. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) explains that this type of legal system largely permits employers to terminate employees at any time, with or without cause. Along the same lines, employees are free to leave their job for any reason. However, an employee cannot be removed for an unlawful reason.

Examples of What Constitutes Wrongful Termination in New Jersey

In New Jersey, employers are prohibited from terminating employees for certain reasons. What falls under the wrongful termination laws in our state? In general, an employee bringing such a claim needs to point to a clear legal violation, either of state law, federal law, contract rights, or some combination. Here are examples of what constitutes wrongful termination in New Jersey: 

  • Discrimination: Employers in New Jersey cannot fire or otherwise discharge an employee based on their age, race, religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected class. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) applies to all businesses and organizations in the state regardless of size. 
  • Retaliation: State and federal laws protect a worker’s ability to exercise certain rights without facing any retribution. Employers cannot fire employees for engaging in legally protected activities, such as reporting harassment or discrimination, whistleblowing, or participating in a union. For example, if an employee complains about sexual harassment in the workplace and is then fired, that could be considered retaliation.
  • Public Policy Violation: Employers cannot terminate employees for reasons that violate public policy. For example, an employer cannot fire an employee for refusing to engage in illegal activity or for reporting illegal activity. Wrongful termination claims based on public policy grounds can be especially complex.  
  • Breach of Contract: If an employee has an employment contract, the employer cannot terminate the employee in violation of the terms of the contract. For example, if an employee has a contract that requires the employer to provide a certain amount of notice before termination, and the employer fails to provide that notice, the termination may be considered wrongful on the grounds of breach of contract

Contact Our New Jersey Wrongful Termination Attorney Today

At the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi, our New Jersey wrongful termination lawyer is committed to providing reliable, cost-effective, and justice-driven legal advocacy. If you have questions about wrongful termination, we can help. Get in touch with us by phone or contact us online to arrange your confidential consultation. We handle wrongful termination claims throughout New Jersey.