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New Jersey employers have great discretion to hire and fire workers at will. But certain laws limit this ability, which means your termination could be wrongful in New Jersey. At the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi, we meet with men and women regularly who lost a job because their employer discriminated against them based on a protected characteristic or retaliated because the employee engaged in protected conduct. This type of wrongful termination is simply unacceptable.

Please contact our firm if you suspect that you were terminated unlawfully. Various laws provide workers with protection, and the vast majority of employers in New Jersey are covered. Based on what we hear, we might determine that filing a discrimination charge is the best course of action, or we could immediately head into court and file a lawsuit. Please contact our firm to speak with our New Jersey wrongful termination lawyer in Paramus, NJ about your case.

When Do You Have a Wrongful Termination Claim?

Like other states, New Jersey is an “at will” state for employment. Essentially, your employer has wide discretion to terminate you whenever they want. There are certain limitations created by law, however:

  • You have an employment contract, and your employer terminates you in violation of the contract. This is rare, but more common in some industries, especially white-collar professionals.
  • Your employer terminates you because of your membership in a protected class based on your race, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristic.
  • Your employer terminates you because you engaged in protected conduct, such as discussing your pay or reporting harassment at work.

Are You a Member of a Protected Class?

Discrimination against someone for a protected characteristic is intolerable, and state and federal laws protect against this. Some of the most important laws are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Over the decades, other landmark legislation has expanded protection. These laws include the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Under these laws, employees are protected from discrimination—including termination—based on the following protected characteristics:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Gender
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Pregnancy

What Conduct is Protected in New Jersey?

State and federal laws also protect workers from termination for engaging in protected conduct. Some common examples include:

  • Reporting discrimination or harassment in your workplace, even if you were not the target of this illegal behavior.
  • Blowing the whistle on your employer’s illegal conduct.
  • Discussing your pay with other employees.
  • Refusing to break the law as part of your job.
  • Serving in the U.S. military.

Sadly, many employers take revenge on employees who either blow the whistle or refuse to go along with illegal activity. Our laws provide protection from retaliation to give workers an incentive to speak up. Unfortunately, in doing so, they often risk their livelihoods, and employers are adept at retaliating while pretending not to. Contact the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi if you believe you are terminated for engaging in conduct protected under the laws.


What Steps to Take if You Suspect Wrongful Termination

Today, few employers come right out and admit they fired a worker because they are a member of a protected class. Instead, you might lose your job and realize everyone else terminated is of the same race or gender. Or your company is bought out and you hear the new owner make disparaging remarks about your religion or national origin.

These cases require high-quality evidence. The way courts analyze discrimination and wrongful termination tends to favor employers. We highly recommend taking the following steps, if possible:

  • Save all emails, notes, letters, and voicemails that you believe contain discriminatory language.
  • Preserve your performance reviews, since an employer is likely to claim your poor work performance drove the decision to fire you.
  • Write down any conversations with your boss or management that you felt involved stereotypes of hateful language.
  • Identify anyone who witnessed incidents involving harassment or discrimination.

If hired, our law firm can ask your employer to preserve certain records and communications. We might also need to involve a judge in the process to make sure your employer does not delete or shred critical pieces of evidence.

Remedies for Wrongful Termination in New Jersey

The goal of filing a wrongful termination claim is to seek some remedy. The remedies available will depend on the facts of your case, in particular, which law was violated.

Many of our clients seek compensation for:

  • Back pay
  • Front pay
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Court costs
  • Emotional distress damages
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Punitive damages

You should work closely with our New Jersey wrongful termination lawyer to review how much compensation you might receive. We can also discuss whether you might qualify for reinstatement in your job—or if that’s even a remedy you wish to pursue.

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If you believe that you were fired because of your age, racial background, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, national origin, or disability, you are urged to contact our experienced New Jersey wrongful termination attorney immediately for a confidential discussion of the circumstances surrounding your termination. If you lost your job due to workplace discrimination, your employer may have broken the law, and you could have grounds for a claim against your employer.

Related to protected classes are courses of “protected conduct.” If an employee is fired for engaging in protected conduct, he or she may have a discrimination claim against his or her employer, similar to an employee who is fired based on membership in a protected class.


While protected classes relate to employees’ attributes, such as race, gender, or disability, protected conduct relates to an employee’s actions. Examples of protected conduct include:

  • Filing a discrimination complaint, or otherwise reporting discrimination in the workplace.
  • Filing a complaint, or making a report, pertaining to employer conduct that is fraudulent or illegal. This is colloquially referred to as “whistleblowing,” “blowing the whistle” or “being a whistleblower.”
  • Serving in any branch of the U.S. military.

It is unlawful for an employer to fire you in retaliation for blowing the whistle on illegal activities, fraudulent activities, or activities that violated public policy. If you believe that you were fired as retaliation or “revenge” for filing a complaint or raising concerns regarding such activities, the North Jersey wrongful termination lawyer at the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi can provide guidance as to the appropriate course of legal action.


How to File a Wrongful Termination Claim in New Jersey

If you were terminated due to membership in a protected class or because of protected conduct, you will likely file a discrimination charge with either the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Sometimes, only one or the other law applies. But in some cases, both federal and state laws will provide protection, and you can choose the forum. You should work closely with a lawyer to fully understand the process and the deadlines.

Speak with a New Jersey Wrongful Termination Lawyer

There is no excuse for discrimination or retaliation in the workplace. At the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi, we seek to vindicate your right to fair treatment at work. Please contact our law firm today. Our experienced New Jersey wrongful termination lawyer can discuss the strength of your case and what other evidence we need. Our firm will also guide you through the claims process, including filing a lawsuit in court, if necessary. If you believe you were fired in violation of your rights, contact us today to schedule a free consultation at our Paramus, New Jersey office.


Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi LLC.

New Jersey Office:

66 NJ-17 #500,

Paramus, New Jersey 07652

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