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When a firing can turn into a wrongful termination

Every job has some disagreeable aspects. Perhaps your job requires you to work longer hours than you initially expected at hiring. Or maybe your constant travel requirements keep you away from your family at important times. Regardless of your situation, you need to know that New Jersey is considered an “at- will” state.

We previously discussed this concept in one of our earlier blog posts. Put simply, “at-will” employment means that both parties in an employment arrangement are free to terminate that arrangement without the necessity to offer a reason for that decision. This means that you are free to walk away, just as your employer is free to fire you without telling you why. The “at-will” designation does not apply to those employees who are under contract.

At first glance it might appear as though the “at-will” policy of no-fault terminations gives employers carte blanche to fire any employee for any reason. That’s not true. In fact, under both federal and state laws New Jersey employers are prohibited from terminating employees for retaliatory or discriminatory reasons. An example of a retaliatory firing might be an employer letting a worker go for taking unpaid time off to care for a spouse recovering from major surgery. In that particular scenario, that employer may be in violation of New Jersey’s Family Leave Act.

Another type of wrongful termination might occur when an employer fires an employee because he or she is a member of a protected class. Firing an employee because of one’s sexual orientation, advanced age or religious beliefs are some examples of protected class wrongful terminations.

There are a few things you should know about wrongful termination in New Jersey, regardless of whether you are an employer or an employee. Employment litigation can be extremely disruptive to businesses as well as to the private lives of any affected workers.

Based in Nutley, our law firm has been providing legal services for clients in Essex County and throughout New Jersey since 1969. We represent both employees and employers in employment law-related matters. Prospective clients should know that fighting against wrongful termination charges or pursuing actions against them can be an arduous, time-consuming process. Our law firm will meet with you to discuss the merits of your case and help you evaluate your next legal action.

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