When you are dealing with the loss of employment, it is a stressful, emotional, and uncertain time. If you believe you were terminated due to a disability, whistleblowing on illegal activity going on in your workplace, your race, religion, sexual orientation, or another personal trait, the sense of injustice around your termination is even more profound. As a New Jersey worker, it is important to know that if you are terminated from your employment for reasons that violate NJ or federal law, you may have a cause of action against your employer. You may be entitled to monetary damages and, in some cases, even attorney’s fees and punitive damages.
New Jersey has an “at will” employment system, which means an employer can generally terminate an employee at any time for any reason, without providing notice or cause, subject to any contractual agreements that exist between the employer and employee.
However, there are limits to this “at-will” system, which are set forth in New Jersey and federal laws that protect workers against discrimination and retaliation. New Jersey and federal laws including the NJ Family Leave Act, federal Family and Medical Leave Act, NJ Law Against Discrimination, NJ Conscientious Employee Protection Act, and NJ Workers’ Compensation Act, all provide exceptions to the “at-will” system.
If you are terminated by your employer and said termination is in violation of any public policy governed by the state or federal government, you have grounds to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit.
If you are on family leave due to the birth or adoption of a new child or a family member’s medical emergency, your job is protected for up to 12 weeks under the New Jersey Family Leave Act and federal Family and Medical Leave Act. This means that your employer may not discriminate or retaliate against you for going on leave. If they do, you may have a wrongful termination claim against them. To learn more about your rights to leave, visit our Family and Medical Leave in New Jersey page.
Under this law, you are protected from being terminated based on your disability, age, medical condition, pregnancy, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. If you believe you were terminated for one of these reasons, your employer may be in violation of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and one or more federal laws, as well.
If you file a claim for workers’ compensation against your employer for an injury you sustained during the course of your employment, your employer is prohibited from terminating you due to your workers’ compensation claim. However, this law does not provide you with absolute job protection. Your employer can still terminate you for any legitimate and non-discriminatory reason.
Peterpaul Law, LLP’s litigation team has vast experience in handling business and commercial litigation matters on behalf of our clients in state and federal courts, before regulatory agencies and in mediation and arbitration proceedings.
We provide both litigation and risk management support to small businesses, middle market companies, multinational entities and institutional firms operating in a wide variety of industries. Our clients also include trade associations, public sector entities and individuals.
The NJ Conscientious Employee Protection Act is New Jersey’s whistleblower protection law. If you saw any type of illegal conduct occurring in your workplace or regulations being violated by your employer and you objected to it in some way or reported the violation to authorities, you may be protected from retaliatory termination through whistleblower status.
Wrongful Termination Specialists