It is estimated that tens of thousands of employees are being hired or fired every day across the United States of America. Some employees get fired for legitimate reasons, whereas others are fired for illegal reasons. Getting fired for unlawful reasons should not happen, but regrettably, it does. Fortunately, in New Jersey, if an employee is fired for illegal reasons, an employment lawyer can help them get the justice they deserve. Getting fired for unlawful reasons is referred to as “wrongful termination.” This article discusses some crucial things employees need to know about wrongful termination of employment.
Protected Classes in New Jersey
A “protected class” is generally a group of people who share a common trait and are protected by the law from being harassed or discriminated against on the basis of that trait. These groups are protected by both state and federal laws. In New Jersey, the LAD prohibits discrimination and harassment based on several protected classes in employment. In New Jersey, protected classes include, among others, the following;
- National origin
- Gender identity or expression
- Sexual orientation
While a protected class member cannot be fired from their job because of their status, it’s crucial to note that a protected class member can still be fired for various other reasons. If you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job due to your status as a protected class member, reach out to a qualified employment lawyer.
Protected Activities in New Jersey
Apart from it being illegal for an employer to fire an employee based on their protected class, it is also unlawful to fire an employee for engaging in a protected activity. Examples of protected activities in New Jersey include;
- Complaining about discrimination
- Complaining about an employer’s illegal actions
- Refusing to do something that would result in discrimination
- Requesting reasonable accommodation
- Answering questions during an employer investigation
New Jersey is an “at-will” employment state. So, what does this mean? It means that in New Jersey, an employer can fire an employee at any time and for whatever reason. It means that a New Jersey employee can leave their job anytime and for any reason. However, not all employees in New Jersey are at-will employees. A lawyer can help you understand whether you are an at-will employee.
Although NJ is an at-will employment state that allows employers to terminate employees for whatever reason, it does not mean that employers have the right to terminate at-will employees for illegal reasons. For instance, just because you are an at-will employee does not mean your employer has the right to fire you based on your protected class or for engaging in protected conduct.
Statute of Limitations
Finally, you should know that there is a statute of limitation for wrongful termination claims. Generally, if you choose to file a wrongful termination claim under the NJLAD, you have two years to file the claim.
Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation
Do you believe an employer wrongfully terminated you? If so, contact an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm for a free case evaluation. We can help you determine if you have a valid wrongful termination case.