Essex County, NJ

Wrongful Termination Lawyer

What Does It Mean to Be an “At-Will Employee” in New Jersey?

Employees are usually hired based on an employment contract or hired on an “at-will” basis. If you have an employment contract, it will describe the terms of your employment, including how long your employer is required to keep you on staff, when your contract renews, what obligations each party has, what pay and benefits you receive, and – most importantly – the reasons your employer can fire you and the reasons you can quit. Contract employees have a bit more job security because their employers must usually need to have a good reason to fire them.

At-will employees have no agreements in place as to when they can be fired or when their contract renews. This means they can walk away from their job at any point, but it also means their employer can fire them at any time. An employer does not need good cause to fire an at-will employee, and they can fire them for any reason they want or no reason at all.

This does not mean at-will employees are left unprotected. Some businesses may have employee handbooks and other company policies which dictate how they will treat their workers. These may help protect workers from random or petty firings. There are also dozens of state and federal laws that make it illegal to fire an employee because of discriminatory reasons, injury or disability, refusing sexual advances, or whistleblowing.

Wrongful Termination for Discrimination in Essex County

If you lost your job because your employer or supervisor discriminated against you, you may be able to claim wrongful termination and file a lawsuit against your former employer. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), as well as other state and federal laws, make it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on personal characteristics. This means that it is not only illegal to fire an employee because of these characteristics but also to use these traits as a factor in any other negative employment decisions, such as a pay cut, transfer, or demotion.

New Jersey’s LAD has some of the broadest protections for antidiscrimination laws in NJ and protects from discrimination based on any of these traits:

  • Age
  • Ancestry
  • Blood or Cellular Traits
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Gender Identity or Expression
  • Genetic Information
  • Marital Status
  • Military Service
  • Nation of Origin
  • Nationality
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

If these traits are used as a factor in dismissing you from your job, you could be entitled to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Wrongful Termination for Victims of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment has no part in the workplace. If you are approached by a supervisor, employer, or coworker who demands sexual favors or repeatedly makes the workplace an uncomfortable and unsafe place, you should never lose your job because of it. People with power may go so far as to threaten to fire you for refusing sexual favors. This is a completely illegal basis for firing an employee, and the law protects victims of sexual harassment from having to give in to outrageous demands to keep their jobs. These rules also work to protect from harassment other than sexual harassment.

Retaliation and Whistleblower Protections for Wrongful Termination

Dozens of proverbs and sayings praise those who stand up for what is right and report problems. In the workplace, this is rarely rewarded as it should be, and you may fear that your employer will punish you for reporting illegal acts, discrimination, sexual harassment, or other problems in the workplace. Multiple rules act to protect whistleblowers and other conscientious employees who report problems at work.

If you complain to a supervisor or report illegal acts to the proper authorities, multiple laws step in to protect your job. This means that your employer cannot try to get revenge against you for uncovering violations, reporting sexual harassment, or complaining about discrimination. If you work for the government, you may also be protected from retaliation for speech you made or viewpoints you hold as a private citizen.

Call Our Essex County Wrongful Termination Attorneys for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one faced discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or other problems that lead to losing your job, talk to an attorney about filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer. These lawsuits can help to reclaim any lost wages and benefits, punish your employer, and reinstate you to your position, where appropriate. For a free consultation on your case, contact the Essex County wrongful termination lawyers at The Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi 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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