How to Know If You’ve Been Wrongfully Terminated
In New Jersey, most people who work are at-will employees. This means their employer can fire them for most any reason, or for no reason at all, as long as no federal or state law is violated. But if you’ve been fired, it’s not always easy to figure out the true motives for the termination and whether you have the right to take legal action.
A wrongful termination lawsuit is possible when your employer fires you for some illegal reason or in breach of an employment contract. If you prevail in your suit, you could be entitled to monetary damages, reinstatement and other benefits.
So how do you know if you have been wrongfully terminated? The following are all illegal reasons for discharging an employee:
- Discrimination — Employment discrimination occurs when a person is fired because of their sexual orientation, gender, national origin, race, color or religion, among other personal attributes. Employees are protected from such dismissal by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as by the NJ Law Against Discrimination.
- Retaliation — Your employer cannot fire you because you report unlawful conduct within the company, also known as whistleblowing. For example, if you are fired after witnessing discrimination against someone at work and reporting it, that may constitute retaliation.
- Employment law violations — Other state and federal laws provide additional protections to employees, violation of which can trigger employer liability. For example, if a person is entitled to take time off for vacation, sick leave or family leave, the employer may not terminate the employer for taking that time appropriately.
- Breach of contract — Some employees are under contract for their employment. Their job may be secure for a certain number of years or their contracts may state that they can only be fired for cause. If you believe your employer did not honor the contractual terms, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
However, employers almost always state facially justifiable reasons for terminating a worker. To determine whether your employer actually had motives that made the firing illegal, you need the assistance of an experienced New Jersey wrongful termination lawyer.
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, you may be owed monetary damages, your job back and other relief. You can trust Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq. to give a thorough evaluation of your situation and to determine if you have a viable wrongful termination claim. Based in Succasunna, I represent employees in Sussex and Morris counties and throughout New Jersey. Call 862-354-8931 or contact me online for an appointment.