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When can’t your employer fire you?

Relationships between employers and particular employees can vary. Some will work well together for years, and others will have issues between them.

Usually, if an employer does not want you around anymore, they can just end your employment. New Jersey employment laws allow this as the state follows the concept of at-will employment. You can leave your employment when you like, and your employer can terminate your employment when they like.

There are some things that employers cannot fire you for

An employer is not allowed to fire you in retaliation for undertaking a protected activity. They are also not allowed to fire you because of one of your protected characteristics.

  • Protected activities include, among other things, reporting your employer to the correct authorities for endangering people’s safety or committing fraud.
  • Protected characteristics include, among a host of others, your gender, skin color, race, religious beliefs, age (if over 40), disability or the fact you are pregnant.

Your employer might also be unable to fire you when they want if you have an employment contract that stipulates, they can only fire you for certain reasons or in certain circumstances.

Some employers may try to get around this

If an employer wants you gone because you engaged in a protected activity or because of one of your protected characteristics, they may hold off on ending your contract or your employment. They know that you might question their motives and that what they are doing is illegal. Instead, they might try to get you to decide to leave by treating you in a way that makes you want to quit.

If they do this and you end up leaving, it could amount to wrongful termination, even though you technically took the decision to leave yourself. If you feel this is what your employer is trying to do or has already done, you may want to explore your legal options.



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