Wrongful Discharge / Wrongful Termination
An unexpected job loss can cause considerable stress and financial strain, and many people who suddenly find themselves unemployed may question whether there are any actions they can take to protect their interests. Although employers are granted broad leeway when it comes to firing employees, there are limitations, and employers can be held liable for unlawfully terminating an employee. If you recently lost your job and believe your employer may have had a discriminatory or retaliatory motive for discharging you, you may have legal options. The knowledgeable New Jersey wrongful termination lawyers of Resnick Law Group are adept at helping people who have been wrongfully discharged or wrongfully terminated in the pursuit of damages, and can aggressively advocate on your behalf. We routinely represent parties in employment lawsuits in New Jersey and New York.State and Federal Laws Against Wrongful Discharge and Wrongful Termination
Under New Jersey law, absent an employment contract, all employment is at-will. In other words, an employer generally can terminate an employee at any time for any reason. There are exceptions to the at-will rule, though, and if an employee's termination falls under an exception, it may constitute an unlawful termination and provide the basis for a wrongful termination claim. For instance, it is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee for discriminatory reasons, in retaliation for reporting a violation or exercising certain rights, or in violation of a contract between the employee and employer.
There are numerous state and federal laws that define what constitutes a discriminatory basis for terminating an employee. Our wrongful termination attorneys can help New Jersey employees bring claims under any of these laws. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to fire a person based on their religion, sex, color, race, or national origin. Additionally, federal laws prohibit discrimination based on age, physical or mental disabilities, or because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition. Similarly, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination bars employers from terminating employees due to their race, nationality, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, and numerous other protected classes.
Additionally, state and federal whistleblower laws protect employees from being terminated in relation for refusing to participate in unlawful behavior or for reporting discriminatory or illegal activity. An employer cannot terminate an employee for exercising his or her right to take family or medical leave or for filing a workers' compensation claim either. It is also unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee if it violates a clear public policy. A knowledgeable New Jersey wrongful termination attorney can assess whether a public policy violation of this nature may have occurred in your case.Proving Your Termination Was Wrongful
If your employer fired you in violation of state or federal law, you may be able to pursue a wrongful discharge or wrongful termination claim. First, you must determine what laws, if any, apply to your employer, as many anti-discrimination laws only apply to employers with a minimum number of full-time employees. If the law provides a valid basis for your claim, you must then produce evidence that, on its face, is sufficient to show you were terminated due to a discriminatory reason or for engaging in protected activity. The precise evidence you must produce will vary depending on the nature of your claim.
The burden then shifts to your employer to show that a lawful, legitimate reason existed for your termination. If your employer is able to meet this burden of proof, the burden shifts back to you to show that your employer’s grounds for terminating your employment were merely a pretext and were not the actual reason you were fired. If you successfully prove you were wrongfully terminated by your employer, you may be awarded damages for your economic harm as well as costs and attorneys’ fees.Speak with a Seasoned Wrongful Termination Lawyer in New Jersey
Employees are protected by state and federal law from being fired unjustly. If you were wrongfully terminated, you can speak with an attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue. At Resnick Law Group, we are dedicated to protecting employee rights, and we will work tirelessly to help you pursue a just outcome. We have an office in Roseland, and we regularly represent people in employment lawsuits throughout New Jersey, including cities in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Union, Hunterdon, Warren, Middlesex, Sussex, Monmouth, and Mercer Counties. We also have an office in Manhattan and assist people in cases in New York City and Rockland and Westchester Counties. You can contact us via our online form, or by calling our Roseland office at (973) 781-1204 or our New York office at (646) 867-7997 to set up a meeting.