By: Gregg Zeff
On: September 24, 2020
In New Jersey, it is considered wrongful termination when an employee is dismissed, laid off, fired, or otherwise terminated for an illegal reason, such as discrimination. Those who are wrongfully terminated in New Jersey have the legal right to sue their former employers on grounds that their termination violated both federal and New Jersey state laws.
Can you Sue for Wrongful Termination in NJ?
Under state law, employers in New Jersey have the right to terminate at-will employees for nearly any reason. However, there are several illegal reasons to terminate an employee, such as race, disability, or gender discrimination, to name a few. Any employer found to have terminated an employee illegally may be sued for wrongful termination in New Jersey courts.
New Jersey employers are not allowed to terminate employees based on the employee’s race, color, sex, religious practices, age, pregnancy status, or disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, and they may not terminate an employee rather than accommodate their disability. Employers do not have the legal right to fire those who take family medical leave for maternity leave, caring for a family member with Covid-19, or otherwise. In addition, employers also do not have the right to fire whistleblowers, employees who call attention to unlawful business practices or unsafe working conditions at the company where they work.
How can I Prove I was Wrongfully Terminated?
If there is an illegal reason for an employee’s termination, employers are unlikely to come right out and admit it. Instead, employers will give a false reason for the termination, such as bad performance or misconduct. To prove wrongful termination, you must show that the employer’s stated reason is inaccurate and that the real reason is an illegal one. To support your case, gather documents, such as your personnel file, employment contract, employee handbook, job evaluations, paystubs, applicable emails, memos, and the termination notice, if it was provided in writing. In addition, record as much information as you can about your termination as soon as possible, before your memory fades. Include the timeline of events, everyone involved (their names, roles, and titles), including who told you that you were being fired and anyone else who was present at the time.
What Evidence do you need to Prove Wrongful Termination?
Employment in New Jersey is at-will, which means you can be terminated at any point during your employment, without reason. However, if that reason is discrimination of any kind, your termination may have been illegal. The Law Against Discrimination (LAD) in New Jersey, bans employers from discriminating against their employees. It’s your best bet to try to gather evidence to support your suspicions of discrimination.
- If you notice the new hires seem to identify as the same gender or seem to be approximately the same age, this could show a pattern of discrimination. Note the details of this pattern.
- If you experience consistent harassment from a supervisor about your race, gender, or any protected identifier, reporting it can help your wrongful termination case.
- While it is difficult to prove that verbal discriminatory comments in court, gathering any digital correspondence, job contracts, or training documents outlining company policies could all be useful. If you no longer have access to your company email, search through any personal emails or text messages from former co-workers for relevant correspondence.
How long do you have to File Against an Employer for Wrongful Termination?
There are set time periods for filing wrongful termination lawsuits, so time is of the essence. Be aware of the statute of limitations because if you go beyond the allotted time to sue, your case might be thrown out. In New Jersey, you may have only six months to a year to file your claim, depending on the type of case. Speak to an employment lawyer to find out the statute of limitations in your case and to discuss your legal options. The experienced wrongful termination lawyers at Zeff Law Firm can advise you on your case.