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Termination FAQs

Can I be fired for no reason?

If you are an at-will employee, your employment may be lawfully terminated for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all, with or without notice, subject to certain exceptions that exist under the law. In NJ, for example, some of those exceptions include discrimination and retaliation. If your employment is terminated as a result of discrimination or retaliation, you likely have legal rights and remedies that you should discuss with a NJ employment lawyer, even if you are an at-will employee.

If you are not an at-will employee and the term of your employment is set forth in an employment contract or agreement, whether written or oral, then a termination of your employment for no reason (or for an illegitimate reason) may very well constitute a breach of contract or other cause of action. In that instance, it is critical that you have an employment lawyer review your contract (or the terms of your oral agreement), in order to evaluate your legal rights.

What is wrongful termination?

In NJ, wrongful termination, otherwise referred to as wrongful discharge, occurs primarily when an employee is terminated from employment as a result of discrimination, retaliation, or for taking a family or medical leave, or because the employer failed to accommodate the employee’s disability. Keep in mind that, under the law, “disability” is very broadly defined and, in some cases, may include many common illnesses and conditions, such as migraines, sleep apnea, anxiety, and depression, among others. Determining whether you have suffered a wrongful termination may entail complex legal analysis requiring a consultation with an employment law attorney.

Can I be fired for being pregnant?

The NJ Law Against Discrimination prohibits an employer from terminating one’s employment because of pregnancy. (It also prohibits an employer from terminating one’s employment because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, genetic information, sex, gender identity or expression, disability or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait of any individual, or because of the liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States or the nationality of any individual, or because of the refusal to submit to a genetic test or make available the results of a genetic test.)

In addition, the law in New Jersey requires that an employer make available to a pregnant employee reasonable accommodation in the workplace under certain circumstances, so long as doing so does not pose an undue burden on the business. The terms “reasonable accommodation” and “undue burden” have legal meaning beyond common vernacular, so it is wise to discuss these matters with an employment attorney licensed in NJ before making any specific requests or accusations.

Can I be fired for being sick?

If your sickness qualifies as a “disability” under the law, or if you are regarded as having a disability under the law, and are fired as a result, then you likely have an employment discrimination claim. Keep in mind that, under the law, “disability” is very broadly defined and, in some cases, may include many common illnesses and conditions, such as migraines, sleep apnea, anxiety, and depression, among others. Before assuming that your sickness is not severe enough to qualify as a disability, you should contact a NJ employment attorney.

Can I be fired for being gay In NJ, sexual orientation discrimination is against the law. The same is true of discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation, whether true or not. In other words, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee because the employer perceives (or other employees perceive) that person to be gay.
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