Workers in New Jersey might be employed by good or bad employers. While many employers have the interests of workers in mind when they establish their policies and procedures, others engage in exploitative practices. You have rights as an employee, and your employer is legally required to respect your employee rights. If you believe that your employer has violated your rights, you should speak to an experienced employment lawyer at Swartz Swidler. Our attorneys have extensive experience fighting for the rights of employees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and understand both the state and federal employment laws. Understanding your rights and when it is time to talk to a lawyer is important. Here are some situations when seeking an employment lawyer.
When Presented with an Employment Contract or Legal Documents
Many employees are asked to sign employment agreements before they start work or after they are already employed. Some examples of legal documents with which you might be presented include non-disclosure agreements, employment contracts, and others. These types of documents often include complex legal jargon that might be difficult to understand.
If you don’t understand what you are signing, you should ask to have a lawyer review it so that you don’t sign away important rights without understanding what you are agreeing to. You should be able to understand the documents you are asked to sign, and your employer should be transparent in what they are requesting. An employer that won’t let you take steps to understand what you are signing might be violating your rights as an employee. If you have questions about any documents you are asked to sign before you start a new job or after your employment date, make sure to ask. If your employer won’t answer, tell them you need to have the documents reviewed by your lawyer so that you understand what you are signing.
When You Believe Your Employers Has Illegally Discriminated or Retaliated Against You
Employers are forbidden from discriminating against employees based on the following protected characteristics:
- Sexual orientation
- National origin
- Gender identity
- Genetic information
- Military status
If you believe your employer has discriminated against you based on one of these characteristics, you should talk to an employment lawyer. You should also speak to an employment attorney if your employer has retaliated against you for engaging in protected activity, including filing a discrimination complaint, participating in an investigation, performing jury duty, taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and others. If your employer treats you differently after you have engaged in protected activities or based on your protected characteristics, it is time for you to consult an employment lawyer.
When You Believe You Were Wrongfully Terminated
While employers can fire at-will employees at any time and for any reason, they can’t do so for an unlawful reason. Some examples of when a termination might be wrongful include the following:
- Based on a discriminatory purpose
- In retaliation for engaging in protected activities
- In violation of an employment contract
An employment lawyer can review what happened and help you protect your rights. In some cases, you might be able to recover damages for the pay that you lost and reinstatement to your former position.
When You Are Being Sexually Harassed
Sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a problem. If you are being sexually harassed at work, you should report it to human resources or to the designated person listed in your company’s sexual harassment policy. After you report it, your employer should investigate your complaint and take steps to end the harassment. If your employer doesn’t do anything to correct the problem or retaliates against you for complaining, you should speak to an employment attorney to get help.
When You Have Inside Knowledge About Your Employer’s Massive Fraud Scheme
If you have non-public knowledge about a massive fraud scheme your employer is perpetrating against a government agency, you should speak to an employment lawyer who accepts whistleblower cases. Reporting your employer will be difficult, but doing so might protect the public from potential harm. A whistleblower lawyer can help to guide you through the process and protect you against potential retaliation by your employer.
When Your Employer Hasn’t Paid You What You Are Owed
Employers in New Jersey must pay most employees at least the state’s minimum wage worked for each hour worked. Your employer also can’t withhold wages from you that you deserve to be paid. If you work more than 40 hours during a workweek and are a statutory employee, you should also receive overtime compensation. If your employer is not paying you what you are owed, you should talk to an employment lawyer.
Talk to Swartz Swidler
The attorneys at Swartz Swidler focus on employment law and are experienced in handling all types of employment issues. If you are experiencing any of the above-listed issues at your job, you should contact us for a free case evaluation. We can analyze the facts and circumstances of your case and help you understand your rights. Call us today at (856) 785-5420 to learn more.