Frequently Asked Questions
Many people who work in New Jersey may be uncertain about their rights and their employer's obligations. Understanding the rights afforded to workers is vital for all employees, especially those who feel that they have been treated unjustly by their employers. If you have questions regarding your relationship with your employer or your working conditions, or if you wish to pursue a claim against your employer, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The dedicated New Jersey employment lawyers at Resnick Law Group are committed to helping employees protect their rights in the workplace, and we can assist you in determining whether you have a viable claim against your employer. We represent employees in New Jersey and New York.
Like most states, New Jersey is an at-will employment state, which means that either party can end the employment relationship whenever they want and for any reason. There are exceptions, however. For example, if the employee has a contract with an employer, any termination must comply with the agreement's terms; otherwise, it may constitute a breach of contract. Additionally, employers cannot fire employees for being members of a protected class, since this constitutes discrimination and wrongful termination. Examples of protected classes include race, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Nor can an employer terminate employees in retaliation for their good faith complaints about discrimination or other violation of the law.
Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for a discriminatory reason, such as the person's race, gender, disability, or religion. It is also unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee in retaliation for filing a discrimination claim or reporting unlawful conduct, or for refusing to participate in such behavior. Generally, an employee alleging retaliation must demonstrate proximity in time between the protected action and the termination. It is important to note that some laws only apply to employers with a minimum number of full-time employees, and the facts of a case will determine which statutes provide the basis of a claim.
In employment discrimination claims in New Jersey, the burden of proof shifts from the plaintiff to the defendant and then back to the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff must set forth allegations demonstrating their membership in a protected class and discriminatory actions taken by the employer due to their membership. Such acts may include termination, denial of promotions or raises, or treating the employee differently from other similarly situated employees. The burden then shifts to the defendant to demonstrate a legitimate and non-discriminatory reason for its treatment of the plaintiff. If the defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must then show that the defendant's explanation for its treatment of the plaintiff is a pretext.
New Jersey employers must comply with both state and federal wage laws. Specifically, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New Jersey minimum wage laws dictate that employers must pay employees a minimum rate per hour. However, some employees are exempt from minimum wage laws, such as waitresses and people who work on commission. The FLSA and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law also prohibit employers from denying employees overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Some employees are not entitled to overtime pay, though, such as those working in a professional or administrative capacity.
The law protects New Jersey employees from unjust treatment in the workplace, and employers that violate the rules regarding employment should be held accountable. If you have employment-related questions or wish to file a lawsuit against your employer, you should speak to the knowledgeable attorneys at Resnick Law Group. We can advise you on your rights and aid you in seeking justice for any discrimination or unlawful treatment that you experienced in the workplace. We assist people in Bergen, Essex, Sussex, Somerset, Hudson, Warren, Passaic, Union, Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Morris, and Hunterdon Counties. We also handle employment cases in New York City and in Rockland and Westchester Counties. You can reach us in New Jersey at (973) 781-1204 or in New York at (646) 867-7997 or via our online form.