New Jersey is an “at-will” employment state. Many people have heard the term or been told that they are “at will” employees. Many do not understand what that really means. An employee is “at will” when they can be fired at any time by an employer for any reason or no reason at all, with a few exceptions. An employer cannot fire you for discriminatory reasons, in retaliation for exercising your rights, or in breach of an employment contract. At-will employment is the reality for some people, but there are laws and regulations that protect employees from employers who may go beyond what the law allows. If you believe you need legal advice or representation because an employer has crossed the line, contact The Mark Law Firm, LLC.
Of course, an at-will employee can be terminated. However, even if you are at-will, there are exceptions to this rule. Though you may be an “at will” employee, your employer cannot fire you because he does not want to employ or work with a person who is a member of one of the protected classes under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the U.S. Equal Employment Occupational Commission. If you are fired because of a distinguishing characteristic protected by the law, you may have a case of wrongful termination. These include:
You may not be terminated or subjected to other adverse employment actions for retaliatory reasons. Termination or other acts of retaliation against an employee who is considered a whistleblower is illegal under both federal and state laws. Those who are terminated because of wage and hour disputes have the law on their side as well. If you exercised your civil rights, your employer may not act against you. If you have been affected by adverse employment actions, you may have a valid case to bring to court.
An employee who has signed or agreed to an employment contract cannot be fired in breach of that contract. Some New Jersey employees agreed to how their job will function and what constitutes termination through a written, implied, or oral employment agreement. Employment agreements are a great way to protect yourself against the terms of “at-will” employment and when an employer violates the agreement, you can take action.
The Mark Law Firm, LLC has over 15 years of employment law experience. “At-will” employment does not serve the needs of most employees, but there are ways to protect yourself from the terms and conditions of that kind of employment. Employee contracts are a great way to avoid working under those conditions. “At-will” termination has its limitations. You may not be fired based on a discriminatory or retaliatory reason. If your employer acts against state and federal discrimination and retaliation laws, they can be held accountable for their actions. If you need passionate advocacy and dedicated representation, contact The Mark Law Firm, LLC.