It is common for people to feel like they were fired for reasons that were unfair when they are terminated from their jobs. However, most people in New Jersey are at-will employees, meaning that their employers may fire them whenever they want and for nearly any reason. There are some reasons for terminating workers that are illegal. When employers fire workers who are members of protected classes because of their statuses, the terminations are considered to be illegal. If you believe that you lost your job because of your membership in a protected class, the attorneys at Swartz Swidler might be able to help you.
Under New Jersey law, the protected classes include the following:
It is also illegal for employers to fire workers for engaging in protected conduct, including the following:
- Serving in the military
- Complaining about discrimination to your supervisor
- Complaining about actions of your employer that you believe to be fraudulent or illegal
What does at-will employment mean?
New Jersey is an at-will employment state. This means that you can be fired at any time and for any reason. You also are able to leave your job whenever you want. Most employees work at will in the state. If you instead have a contract that protects your job, you are not an at-will worker. In that case, your employer must adhere to the provisions of your contract.
Even if you are an at-will employee, your employer still is prohibited from terminating you based on your protected class or your engagement in protected activities because the termination would be in violation of public policy or of the law. You may also have grounds to sue if you have an implied or express contract. An implied contract might exist if you have a handbook that includes language regarding the disciplinary process that must be followed leading up to termination, for example.
Get help from an experienced employment lawyer
Determining whether or not your termination was wrongful may be difficult. The employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler are experienced in handling wrongful termination claims and can offer you honest evaluations of your claim. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment so that you can learn more about your case.