Spotting Signs That You May Have Been Wrongfully Terminated
Most employees in New Jersey are hired “at will,” which means their employers may terminate them without cause. But this doesn’t mean that any termination is legal. Employers may not terminate an employee for a reason prohibited by New Jersey or federal law. An employee subjected to wrongful termination may take legal action to protect their rights and to recover money damages. In some instances, it is possible to maintain a wrongful termination cause of action when an employee resigns in response to an intolerable work environment.
Employers do not express illegal reasons for dismissing a worker. There is almost always some other pretext given for the actions taken. Therefore, it’s important to look for hidden signs of wrongful termination. Some of the most common claims stem from employers’ actions that are caused by discrimination, retaliation or other illegal motivations. A termination is wrongful when it is based on personal characteristics of the employee, such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation or disability.
New Jersey also prohibits termination as retaliation for an employee exercising certain rights. For example, an employee cannot be fired for acting as a whistleblower, namely by reporting illegal activity within a company. Nor can a worker be terminated for seeking benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act or workers’ compensation law or for exercising their right to vote.
Another type of wrongful termination is known as a constructive discharge. This occurs when a work environment has become hostile in terms of its treatment of employees of certain gender, race or other protected characteristics. If that conduct is so severe and pervasive that it interferes with an employee’s ability to do their jobs, causing them to quit, the employee may have a valid wrongful termination claim.
If you have been dismissed from your job, or you are being subjected to adverse actions or conduct by your employer, you should find out as much information as you can and keep a record. Also, keep copies of any correspondence or other documentation relating to assessments of your job performance or to company employment policies. A New Jersey employment law attorney can advise you of your rights and possibly bring a wrongful termination lawsuit to recover the damages you may be entitled to.
Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq, with offices in Succasunna, New Jersey, has over 25 years of legal experience in employment law matters. If you believe your employer wrongfully terminated you, call 862-354-8931 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.