Employment Lawyers Fighting for Workers’ Rights in New Jersey, Pennsylvania & Throughout the United States

Employee Rights FAQ

Can an Employer Fire You By Phone or Email?

While it would be better for your employer to meet with you in person and to terminate you in a tactful manner, there is no requirement for an employer to act nicely when you are fired. In many cases, employers are allowed to fire you without warning and to deliver the news however they want. To learn more about when terminations might be illegal, talk to the professional employment law team at Swartz Swidler.


Can you get fired over the phone or by email?

In most cases, employers are not restricted in the manner in which they can terminate their employees. Unless you have a contract for employment that outlines how you can be fired, your employer can fire you in any manner in which it wants. This means that employers are able to fire their employees by letter, by email, in person, over the phone, or by text message.

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Can an Employer Legally Reduce Your Pay?

If your employer has cut your pay or reduced your hours, you might wonder whether it is legal. In many cases, it is legal for employers to reduce the hours or pay of employees. At-will employees usually are not guaranteed a certain number of work hours per week or that their pay will remain the same. Unless you work under a collective bargaining agreement or an employment contract, your employer is generally allowed to cut your hours and pay.

At-will employees and pay reductions

Most workers are considered to be at-will employees. These workers do not work under collective bargaining agreements or employment contracts. At-will workers can have their pay cut and hours reduced whenever the employer wants with certain exceptions.

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How Many Hours A Week Is A Full-Time Job?

Workers in New Jersey might wonder how many hours they need to work in a week to be considered to be full-time workers. The Fair Labor Standards Act does not provide any laws that define full-time work. Instead, this determination depends on each company’s policy and practices other than the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler can explain the industry standards in New Jersey and how they apply to full-time employees.

Traditional full-time standard

Traditionally, employees who work 40 hours per week are considered to be full-time workers. However, many employers designate employees who work fewer hours as full-time workers. Companies determine the number of hours per week that are considered to be full-time. Full-time workers are likelier to receive benefits such as health insurance, sick pay and vacation time, and employer-provided retirement plans that part-time workers do not receive. Employers are not required to provide benefits to workers beyond those that are mandated by the law.

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Does a 40-hour workweek include lunch?

Most working people are given time to eat lunch during their workdays. While lunch breaks help to boost morale and increase health, employers are not required to provide them in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. Federal law likewise does not mandate the provision of lunch breaks to employees. While multiple states have enacted laws to govern reasonable lunch breaks, New Jersey and Pennsylvania laws only address lunch breaks for minors. If your employer does offer lunch breaks, whether you will be paid for your break will depend on if you are required to work through it while eating at your desk or if you can clock out and leave the premises. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can help you to understand your rights during lunch breaks.


The Fair Labor Standards Act and breaks

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, employers are not required to offer breaks to their employees, including lunch breaks. However, most employers offer unpaid lunch breaks to full-time employees as a matter of course. Most workers should reasonably expect to be provided an unpaid lunch break during their workdays.

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What Is Chinese Overtime?

Chinese overtime, which is also called a variable workweek or half-time method of overtime calculation, involves the fluctuating work week method to calculate overtime as permitted under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Employers use this method in order to save money. While using this method is legal, some employers calculate the pay incorrectly. If your employer uses this method and has failed to pay you enough for your overtime hours, you might want to consult with the employment law attorneys at Swartz Swidler.

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What Are The Maximum Hours A Salaried Employee Can Work?

While non-exempt, statutory employees in New Jersey are entitled to receive overtime pay for the hours that they work above 40 in a workweek, exempt workers are not entitled to the overtime premium. While the Fair Labor Standards Act and New Jersey’s labor laws regulate the rules concerning worker pay, little guidance is provided for the number of hours an exempt worker can be required to work during the workweek. An attorney at Swartz Swidler can review your job duties to determine whether you have been properly classified as an exempt employee or if you have been misclassified and are entitled to overtime pay.


Requirements to be classified as an exempt employee

To get around overtime pay, some employers misclassify their workers as exempt when they should be classified as non-exempt workers. Salaried employees are normally exempt from the overtime requirements. It can be difficult to recognize the differences between exempt and non-exempt employees. However, the job duties and the salary control the classification of workers.

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Call (856) 685-7420 or

What Are The Overtime Laws In New Jersey?

Your right to receive overtime pay will depend on your job duties and the type of business in which you work. If you believe that you have not received the compensation that you deserve, the attorneys at Swartz Swidler can offer some guidance to you.

Overtime laws in New Jersey

In New Jersey, the state’s overtime law can be found at N.J.S.A § 34:11-56a4. The federal law that provides overtime compensation is the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. These laws define which workers are entitled to overtime compensation and how it is calculated.

Calculating overtime

For hourly workers, overtime is calculated at time-and-one-half the regular hourly rate for every hour that is worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime for people who receive hourly pay plus commissions or bonuses is calculated a little differently.

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Can My Employer Change My Time Sheet Or Clock-In Time?

Even when an action seems like it is unfair, it may be legal. For example, your employer is allowed to change your time card without your knowledge. If you think that it was unfairly adjusted, you should talk to your boss and review the Fair Labor Standards Act to determine if the changes were a violation of the law. You can also talk to the lawyers at Swartz Swidler for help in determining whether the changes that your employer made were lawful.

The Fair Labor Standards Act

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted to protect the rights of workers. Under the act, employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage. Your pay cannot fall below the amount of the minimum wage, and any overtime that is owed to you cannot be reduced.

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor is tasked with several work issues. One of these is making certain that the work that you perform and the pay that you earn are documented properly. Your employer is required to keep documentation of all of the hours that are worked by each employee. Employers are allowed to use any type of documentation that they want as long as they keep all of the required information, including your name, the hours that you worked, your rate of pay, the time and date when your workweek begins, your pay periods and the total amount of money that you earned during each pay period.

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Can An Employer Switch You From Hourly To Salary?

Most workers are non-exempt and must be paid at least the minimum wage plus overtime compensation for any hours that they work in a workweek over 40. In some cases, employers might try to switch workers from an hourly wage to a salary and claim that they are exempt from overtime pay. When this happens, it is generally in violation of the state and federal wage and hour rules. If your employer has changed your pay from an hourly wage to a salary and is claiming that you are now exempt from the overtime requirements, talk to the attorneys at Swartz Swidler for help.

Non-exempt vs. exempt

Non-exempt workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act must be paid the federal minimum wage. They must also be paid overtime compensation for each hour that they work above 40 in a workweek at a rate of one-and-one-half times their normal hourly rates. Whenever you exceed 40 hours in a week, your employer must pay you the overtime premium in addition to your regular hourly rate for each hour that you worked above 40.

Employees cannot be declared to be exempt from overtime requirements unless they meet specific criteria. They must be paid a minimum required salary of $455 per week and receive the same amount each week regardless of the number of hours that they work. Their job duties must also meet a duty test. Employers are not allowed to claim that an employee is exempt and then dock his or her pay for working less than 40 hours in a week.

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What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit?

While employers are allowed to fire most workers in New Jersey or Pennsylvania at any time and for nearly any reason or no reason at all, there are some exceptions to this rule. Employers cannot terminate workers for discriminatory reasons based on their protected statuses. They also cannot fire workers to retaliate against them for engaging in protected activities or in violation of the terms of employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements. In situations in which an employee believes that his or her termination was wrongful, the employee will have a limited time to file a lawsuit against his or her employer. If the employee waits until this limitations period has expired, he or she will be barred from filing a lawsuit to recover damages. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can help you to understand whether you have a valid case and the statute of limitations that applies.

Understanding the statute of limitations

Figuring out how much time you have to file a claim against your employer can be complicated. The statute of limitations for wrongful termination will depend on the law under which you are filing your lawsuit and the conduct that you allege occurred. If you plan to sue your employer, you should act quickly to avoid running into problems with the statute of limitations. If the limitations period expires, you will lose your ability to file a lawsuit and to recover damages for your losses. If you are thinking about filing a wrongful termination claim, you should consult with an experienced employment law attorney at Swartz Swidler as soon as possible.

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Can An Employee Be Fired For Insubordination?

Most workers have jobs in which they have vertical relationships with their supervisors or managers. This means that you report to your supervisor, and your supervisor has the authority to make decisions, including whether to terminate your job. If you have been fired for insubordination, you might wonder whether your employer was allowed to take that action under the law. Swartz Swidler can assist you in determining whether or not your employer’s actions were lawful.


At-will employment vs. employment contracts

Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state, which means that employers are generally allowed to terminate the jobs of workers for any reason and at any time. You also have the right to quit your job whenever you want. However, there are some limits to your employer’s power to fire you.

If your employer fires you for an unlawful, discriminatory reason because of your membership in a protected group, your employer may have violated federal and state anti-discrimination laws. If your employer simply fired you for insubordination, and the reason was not discriminatory in nature, your termination was likely legal.

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Can You Get A Severance Package And Unemployment?

You may receive a severance package when you leave your job. If you do, it will provide you with a lump sum or a weekly payment that can help you to make ends meet while you are looking for a new job. If you receive a severance package, it may affect when you might be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. To learn more about the effect that your severance package might have on your ability to receive unemployment benefits, you might want to talk to the lawyers at Swartz Swidler.

Types of severance

If you are offered a severance package from your employer, you may receive a lump-sum payment or weekly payments for a set number of weeks. These packages may also include other types of benefits such as ongoing health insurance or job placement help.



You are able to apply for unemployment benefits as soon as your employment ends. the office will examine your employment history to decide the amount that you are entitled to receive.

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How to Figure Out Time and a Half

If you are a statutory employee, you might wonder how overtime pay is calculated. Overtime pay is calculated at one-and-one-half times your hourly rate. This means that you must be paid your regular hourly rate along with an overtime premium of one-half of your rate for each hour that you work during a work week above 40 hours. However, if you are an exempt employee, you are not entitled to overtime pay. Swartz Swidler assists employees who have not been paid the overtime premium for their work so that they can recover the money to which they are entitled.

How to calculate your hourly overtime rate

To calculate your hourly overtime rate, you must start with your regular hourly rate of pay. If you are unsure, you can look at your last paystub. You can then take your regular hourly rate and multiply it by 1.5 to figure out how much you should be paid for any overtime work that you have performed.

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Can My Boss Force Me To Work Overtime?

Federal law allows employers to mandate their employees to work overtime. However, the employees who are required to work overtime must be paid the overtime premium for the hours that they work in excess of 40 in a week. While the federal Fair Labor Standards Actsets the regular work week as 40 hours, there is no limit on the maximum number of hours that you can be required by your employer to work in a week as long as you are paid overtime for the excess hours.

Can you be forced to work overtime?

Your employer is allowed to force you to work overtime hours and is allowed to terminate you if you won’t do so. There are no limits on how much overtime that your employer can require as long as your employer complies with the overtime requirements. Your overtime also cannot create a safety hazard to you or to others.

If you have an employment contract that contains a restriction on the amount of overtime, your employer must follow it. If the employer violates this agreement, you may have a right to sue for breach of contract.

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My Paycheck Bounced, What Are My Rights?

Some employers habitually write bad checks to pay their workers. The workers may then be forced to go to check-cashing places. When this occurs on a regular basis, it is not uncommon for workers to accumulate hundreds or even thousands of dollars in back pay that is owed to them. If your employer writes checks that bounce to you for your work, the attorneys at Swartz Swidler might help to recover the money that you are owed.

What rights do you have when your paycheck bounces or you are paid late?

Federal law mandates employers to have enough money in their bank accounts to cover the money that they owe to their employees. Employers are also required to pay you on time for the work that you perform. In nearly every state, it is illegal for employers to bounce checks to their employees on purpose.

Some employers will routinely do this because their employees simply accept that they will eventually be paid what they are owed. Employers who engage in this type of practice may also engage in other practices that are shady, including the following:

  • Keeping track of work hours by hand;
  • Erasing some of the hours that you have worked;
  • Changing your timesheet frequently;
  • Routinely paying you late; and
  • Giving you check stubs that are inaccurate.

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Does My Employer Have To Let Me Ring My Service Animal To Work?

Some people who are disabled have service animals to help them complete many different tasks at home and work. People who have disabilities may also use their service animals at their jobs. For example, someone who is blind might use a guide dog to get around in the office while someone who has a seizure disorder might rely on a service dog that has been specially trained to recognize the warning signs of a seizure. If you have a disability and rely on a service animal, you should understand your rights in the workplace under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The employment law attorneys at Swartz Swidler can help you to understand your rights about bringing your service animal to work.

Service animals in the workplace

In the ADA’s discussion of public accommodations, service animals are defined as dogs that are trained to perform work to benefit people who have disabilities. The definition of service animals under the ADA does not include emotional support animals. These are animals that offer companionship and comfort to people who suffer from emotional or psychiatric conditions. While emotional support animals offer therapeutic benefits, they do not receive individualized training to perform specific jobs for their owners. Owners of public accommodations that are covered by the ADA are only required to accommodate people who have service animals. They are not required to allow people to bring their emotional support animals with them when they go to public accommodations.

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Most Frequently Asked Question: Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is to contact one of our attorneys. For more information check out the FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page

Most Frequently Asked Question:
Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is contact one of our attorneys. For more information on a just a few scenarios checkout the flip box FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page.

A 2019 Washington Post Report Says More than 1 million employment discrimination complaints have been filed with the government since 2010.

6 Steps To Take If You Are Experiencing Discrimination in the Workplace

  1. Document any comments or different treatment-experienced.
  2. Keep your documentation in a safe place.
  3. Gather all inappropriate texts, emails, notes, or other evidence.
  4. Report the discrimination at work in writing.
  5. File a complaint with the EEOC.
  6. Contact Swartz – Swidler for legal assistance with your claim.

If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination in the workplace. Help can be just a phone call away.

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Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417

Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733

Our Locations

Haddonfield Headquarters

9 Tanner Street, Ste. 101
Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417


Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733