Wrongful Termination Legal Claims:
For most people, involuntary termination of their employment almost always seems wrongful. There are many rules of law, from contract to FMLA to anti-discrimination laws, and others, that may render such a termination legally wrongful. But not every termination that seems wrongful actually is, at least in the eyes of the law.
To be actionable, the termination of an “at-will” employee, which most employees are, must violate some applicable rule of law, such as the many prohibitions listed in the powerful New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJ LAD”), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1, et seq. That means that you cannot be terminated because of your race, age, sex, condition of handicap, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, etc. You also cannot legally be terminated because you have complained about or objected to discrimination or harassment directed against you [or possibly others] on such protected grounds. And you cannot be terminated when such action would constitute a violation of a “clear mandate of public policy,” such as when an employee objects to working at wages below the minimum wage or without being paid for overtime, or because of objecting that the employer is violating safety or public health regulations. Where the employer punishes such legitimate behavior by terminating the complainer, such action is in violation of a public policy expressed in a statute or regulation. Cases of this latter kind are also known as “whistleblower” cases, and are dealt with in a separate statute known as the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”), N.J.S.A. 34:19-1, et seq. But the same principle applies to protect employees objecting to workplace discrimination.
Each wrongful termination case is unique and dependent on the particular facts of that case. Employers have the right to terminate “at-will” employees for no reason, and even for bad reasons, but not for illegal reasons. These distinctions are not always obvious and must be analyzed carefully case-by-case.
If your case has merit, or if such a claim is made against you or your company without good cause, we can help you reach the successful outcome you deserve, whether through effective negotiations or at trial.