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Was your employment contract violated when you were terminated?

When a person believes that he or she has been wrongfully terminated, that often means the employee believes he or she has faced some form of discrimination or that the employer illegally retaliated against the employee for reporting a safety or procedural violation. However, some forms of wrongful termination are more technical and possibly less about an interpersonal conflict. If you have an employment contract, then there may be specific provisions in the contract that dictate how you may be terminated, and what that termination would trigger as a result. If you were terminated in a way that violated your contract, this can also be a form of wrongful termination that is legally actionable.

Terminations that include contract violations come in two general forms — either a written contract or a verbal contract. New Jersey does consider a verbal contract legally binding, but it may be very difficult to prove and therefore enforce a verbal contract. As a general rule, it is always best to get any kind of employment agreement in writing.

If your employment contract was not followed when you were let go, you may have grounds to pursue fair compensation for this violation. This may mean additional pay for a period of time or an extension of some benefits. Of course, if you believe your employer is in violation of your contract, then you must be careful to not also violate the contract, which might create a situation that is very difficult to settle equitably. For instance, if you believe that you were denied proper notice or predetermined severance, that is not license to violate a non-disclosure agreement. You may hurt your chances of a fair resolution to your contract.

Each case of wrongful termination is different, and should be evaluated individually by a professional legal counsel to determine the best course of action. You will stand a much better chance of reaching a fair resolution by enlisting the guidance of an attorney with experience in wrongful termination, who can protect your rights and advise you about the nuances of the law.

Source: FindLaw, "Employment Contracts and Compensation Agreements," accessed March 02, 2017

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