If you have been fired from your job for reasons that you believe may be unethical or unlawful, or you are an employer who has been accused of wrongful termination, it is important to understand the bases under which a wrongful termination claim can be made. Below we will discuss what constitutes wrongful termination and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.
What Is a Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires or discharges an employee for a reason that violates the employee’s contract rights or their rights under statutory law, or for a reason that is considered contrary to public policy.
What Constitutes Wrongful Termination
While this list is not exhaustive some examples of firing or discharging an employee may constitute wrongful termination when it involves:
- Terminating an employee based on some legally protected classification, such as their race, color, national origin, religious beliefs, age, sex/gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or disability.
- Terminating an employee working under a contract for reasons not permitted under the terms of the contract.
- Terminating an employee after they exercise their rights under employment or labor law, such as requesting accommodation for a disability, requesting or taking family/medical leave, or seeking to unionize.
- Terminating an employee in retaliation for their participation in whistleblowing behavior, such as participating in a government or regulatory investigation, internal investigation, or civil claim against the employer, reporting suspected illegal or unethical behavior by the employer, or refusing to engage in illegal or unethical behavior when directed by the employer.
Compensation Available in a Wrongful Termination Claim
If an employee can show that they were wrongfully terminated from their job, they may be entitled to various forms of compensation, including:
- Lost income
- Reinstatement to employment, including back pay, benefits, and seniority
- Injunctive relief to change the conditions in the workplace that led to wrongful termination
- Compensation for emotional distress
- Punitive damages
- Reimbursement of legal fees and expenses incurred in bringing a wrongful termination claim
How An Employment Law Attorney Can Help You with A Wrongful Termination Suit
New Jersey is an at-will-to-work state. This means that employers can terminate an employee at any time, for any legal reason. Therefore, proving that an employee has been wrongfully terminated can be a difficult process. If you are an employee who believes they have been wrongfully terminated or an employer who has been wrongfully accused, it is important you speak with an experienced lawyer about your situation and get guidance about your rights. At Peterpaul Law, LLP our knowledgeable employment law attorneys are here to guide you through every step of the way to ensure a favorable outcome. Contact us today to discuss your options.