Wrongful termination is a catch-all phrase used by employees when they are unfairly fired from their jobs. In New Jersey, the default is that all employees are “at will” which means that they can be fired for any reason or no reason, as long as it is not an illegal reason. Any reason which violates New Jersey or federal laws would be an illegal reason. Most employment claims in New Jersey assert that the employer and/or the supervisor has violated the NJ Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) or the NJ Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”). Claims raised in federal court may allege violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans With Disability Act (“ADA”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and various other federal statutes. Often, the termination decision is motivated by the manager or supervisor’s retaliation for underlying complaints.
What is NJ Wrongful Termination and Does My Case Apply?
Since the pattern of harassment and retaliation starts before the actual termination or negative employment action, employees need to be vigilant about what has changed in their workplace. Take notes, keep a journal, and pay attention. And put your company’s HR representative on notice of what you are experiencing.
But remember that not all negative employment actions or terminations are wrongful. Be honest with yourself. Have there been documented performance issues, missed meetings and deadlines, objectively measurable low-performance metrics such as sales figures, and productivity measures? Be prepared to discuss these with your employment lawyer or wrongful termination attorney and explain why, despite these issues, you believe that you were treated unfairly. Some disparate treatment can be proved when you are written up for actions that are tolerated when committed by other employees.
Meeting with a Wrongful Termination Lawyer in New Jersey
Employment cases are very fact-sensitive and detail oriented and a good wrongful termination lawyer will dive deep into these details. Be prepared to discuss everything, regardless of whether you think it is relevant or not. Answer questions fully and honestly and be patient with your attorney; the good ones will have a lot of questions. At the end of your first meeting with your attorney, you should leave the office having a greater understanding of your case, your legal claims, and if you don’t have a good case, why that may be.
Reach out to Hamilton Law Firm for assistance if you believe you have been wrongfully terminated in NJ.