Montclair, NJ

Wrongful Termination Lawyer

When Can You Sue for Wrongful Termination in New Jersey?

New Jersey observes “at-will” employment laws. This means an employee can quit his or her job at any time, with or without cause. Likewise, an employer may fire an employee at any time, with or without cause. However, while New Jersey employers are generally free to fire workers at will, New Jersey and federal workplace discrimination laws create two major exceptions to this rule. It is illegal for an employer to fire an employee solely because the employee:

  1. Belongs to a “protected class”
  2. Participated in a “protected activity”

“Protected activity” generally refers to firing a complaint against an employer, reporting unsafe conditions, refusing sexual advances, refusing to comply with illegal requests, or blowing the whistle on illegal activities. You should consult with a wrongful dismissal attorney if you are not sure whether your activities were “protected,” because, as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) points out, protected activity “can take many forms.”

“Protected classes” refer to personal traits and characteristics. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 famously bans workplace discrimination on the basis of race, religion (“creed”), national origin, color, or sex. This may be the best-known, but is certainly not the only, anti-discrimination law. Other laws that prohibit employment discrimination, including discriminatory termination, include the:

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA)
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
  • New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD)

Together, these laws offer broader protection than Title VII of the Civil Rights Act alone, extending protection to the following classes or traits:

  • Ancestry
  • Atypical blood/cellular traits
  • Gender identity or gender expression
  • Marital status, including civil unions and domestic partnerships
  • Sexual orientation

Compensation in a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Wrongful termination has a host of negative consequences for the victim. First, there is the obvious financial harm: the loss of the income, the loss of employment benefits, and potentially, the loss of unpaid wages or overtime. Then, there is the sense of shame, anger, and helplessness that comes from being targeted and abused. Finally, there is the fear of suffering the same discrimination and harassment in the future. When an employee is wrongfully terminated, they lose more than just a job or a paycheck – they also lose their sense of dignity, stability, and security.

Filing a wrongful termination claim gives you an opportunity to pursue the compensation that you deserve for your losses. Perhaps more importantly, it also gives you an opportunity to hold your employer accountable and send a clear message that discrimination will not be tolerated.

Various types of compensation, called “damages,” may be recoverable in a wrongful termination lawsuit. These damages include:

  • Compensation for lost earnings, including unpaid wages and unpaid overtime
  • Compensation for lost employment benefits, including health insurance (medical, dental), retirement benefits (such as pension plans), and employee stock options (incentive, non-qualified)
  • Compensation for emotional distress

The majority of wrongful discharge cases are settled out of court, meaning both parties reach a mutual agreement about compensation before the matter ever goes to trial. While settling is faster and simpler than litigation, it is not necessarily the right approach for resolving every case. Your attorney will develop a tailored legal strategy that gives you the greatest likelihood of recovering compensation successfully.

Montclair Wrongful Termination Attorney Handling Workplace Discrimination Claims

If you were fired because you blew the whistle on your employer, refused to take part in illegal activities, or belonged to a protected class, you should discuss your situation with an experienced wrongful discharge attorney as soon as possible. You could be entitled to compensation for your losses – including salary or wages, overtime, and benefits – in addition to the mental anguish you have suffered due to the job loss. For a free consultation about filing a wrongful termination claim in New Jersey, contact Montclair wrongful termination lawyer Usmaan Sleemi at (973) 453-4060, or contact us online.

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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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