Employment Discrimination Lawyer – Wrongful Termination
What is Wrongful Termination?
This is firing or laying off of an employee by an employer for illegal reasons. Although the law acknowledges that employment relationships are at-will in New Jersey, there are various stipulations and regulations that a termination process must adhere to.
If you have been fired because of your race, religious beliefs, a disability, age or gender, or in violation of an employment or Labor Union contract, or in retaliation for exercising your rights or complaining of discrimination, you have a legal claim against your employer for wrongful termination.
Reasons for Wrongful Termination
The state of New Jersey stipulates the following as reasons for wrongful terminations:
- Termination for discriminatory reasons. This is where an employer fires an employee for reasons other than performance. It involves firing on the basis of race, gender, nationality, age, disability and religion.
- Breach of contract. If an employer terminates an employee against terms provided for in a contract, e.g. before expiration of contract. This applies whether the contract was verbal or written – expressed or implied.
- Termination as retaliation to an employee’s involvement in investigation or jury process against the employer. This is against the federal and state discrimination laws of New Jersey.
- If an employee is fired for refusing to engage in illegal acts as demanded by the employer. For example, if an employee refuses to engage in corrupt dealings and is fired.
- If an employee is fired for taking time off on public policy duty such as for taking time off to vote.
- If an employee is fired for taking time off as lawfully provided, for instance, firing an employee for taking maternity leave.
- Firing an employee without following an organization’s disciplinary and termination procedures.
- Firing as a form of sexual harassment.
- If an employer fabricates reasons for firing an employee.
How to File for Wrongful Termination
Filing a wrongful termination claim either seeks to settle the case out of court or to open a lawsuit. In either case, the employee must have a clear understanding of labor laws.
They must also identify a reason for wrongful discharge. Then, the employee can collect the necessary evidence and documents and file a claim. The following procedure is used to file a claim in New Jersey:
- Determine whether to file with the EEOC or the New Jersey state agency.
- Hire an employment attorney. An attorney will help you build a case and offer legal advice.
- File a complaint with the EEOC or the state agency within 180 days of the illegal discharge. This can be done in person or through mail/email.
- Wait for the EEOC to discharge your case.
- Fill in the charge form detailing the incident.
- The EEOC will interview your former employer and try to reach a settlement. An employer can opt to pay compensation rewards in exchange for the employee dropping the case.
- Ask for a right to sue letter if you fail to reach an out of court settlement.
Proving Wrongful Termination
To prove a wrongful termination, an employee must provide evidence for the reasons for wrongful termination. For instance if the termination is in breach of contract, the employee should present contracts between him/her and the employer as evidence.
Other examples of evidence used in proving wrongful termination include emailed communications, witness statements and employment records.
Wrongful Termination Charges
These are charges faced by an employer when an employee files a wrongful termination lawsuit against him. Wrongful termination is against New Jersey state and federal labor laws. Employers convicted for wrongful discharge can pay for damages through:
- Back pay
- Reinstating wrongfully terminated employees
- Paying for compensatory damages
- Injunctive relief
- Front pay
If you feel that your dismissal was wrongful, chances are it is. Contact us to help you determine the reason for wrongful discharge. We will then work with you in making a claim if necessary and represent you at trial.
At The Law Office of David Kaplan, we are committed to effectively serving you. Your rights and needs are our priority. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.