Debunking Some Common Employment Law Myths in New Jersey

As an employee, it is crucial that you understand employment law. You need to avoid believing myths about employment law but instead possess the facts. At the Trabosh Law Firm, we have heard many myths about employment law from our clients and potential clients. In this article, we debunk some of the most common employment law myths in New Jersey.

Myth #1: An Employer Can Only Fire an Employee for Good Reason

Like many other states in the United States of America, NJ is an at-will employment state. In an at-will employment state, employees can quit their jobs at any time, for any reason, and employers can fire employees at any time, for any reason, even if it is not a good reason. The only rule is that an employer cannot terminate an employee for illegal reasons. For instance, an employer cannot fire an employee for discriminatory reasons, such as the employee’s race, sex, or religion, or for whistleblowing or engaging in protected activity.

Myth #2: An Employer Cannot Be Sued for Wrongful Termination

While it is true that NJ is an at-will employment state, and an employer can fire you at any time, for any reason, even if it is not a good reason, it is not true that you cannot sue for wrongful termination. If an employer fires you for an illegal reason, for example, for discriminatory reasons, you can sue for wrongful termination.  

Myth #3: Discrimination and Harassment Mean the Same Thing

Under employment law, harassment and discrimination are not the same. Discrimination involves an employer treating an employee less favorably because of their membership in a protected class. Examples of protected traits include race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, and national origin. On the other hand, harassment is unwelcome workplace conduct based on membership in a protected class that interferes with an employee’s ability to do their job. Harassment is a form of employment discrimination.

Myth #4: Federal Law Does Not Provide Any Protections to Employees in New Jersey

There are a number of key federal laws that provide protections for workers in New Jersey. For example, employees in New Jersey are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employees in New Jersey are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Also, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the main federal workplace discrimination law, covers New Jersey employees.

Myth #5: Only Women and Members of Minority Groups Are Eligible to File Discrimination Claims

Indeed, women and members of minority groups are more likely to face discrimination. However, to file a discrimination claim, you simply need to belong to a protected class.

Myth #6: Only Pregnant Women are Permitted to Take Leave Under the FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible employees job-protected leave when they take time off work for the birth of a child. The FMLA also provides eligible employees job-protected leave for their serious health condition and to look after a family member with a serious health condition, which is not limited to pregnancy.

Under the FMLA, eligible employees are those working for covered employers and;

  • Have been working for the employer for at least one year,
  • Have at least 1,250 hours of service, and
  • Work at a location with at least 50 employees.

Contact the Trabosh Law Firm

At the Trabosh Law Firm, our skilled New Jersey employment lawyer understands state and federal employment laws and works dedicatedly to protect employee rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.