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Are there any exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2019 | Wrongful Termination |

New Jersey, much like other states in the country, upholds an employment-at-will doctrine. This means that employees have a right to quit their job for any reason and at any point in time. It works the other way around too. Employers in at-will states can terminate an employee without giving them any advance notice or having to explain their actions.

Employees who work in at-will employment states are afforded rights when they’re terminated from their job.

New Jersey workers still have the right to file anti-discrimination lawsuits if they were unfairly treated in the workplace in violation of local or federal laws. A worker may sue if they’re discriminated against due to their sexual orientation, gender, medical status, religion, race, or citizenship status if they’re let go from their job by their employer.

State and federal laws also prohibit employers from firing a worker for whistleblowing. At -will employees are still entitled to file suit for workplace retaliation or if they’re let go from the job for reporting some type of impropriety.

Workers living in an at-will state are still entitled to apply for unemployment insurance or to qualify for severance pay. Employees generally must be classified as hourly or salary employees and not contractors to qualify for unemployment in most states. A worker may only qualify to receive severance pay if they were a party to an employment contract and their termination met certain conditions.

There are some exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine. Employees that are a party to certain contracts, whether they’re written down or implied, may be afforded certain rights that those workers don’t enjoy. Any workers who works in a position that’s in the public’s interests may unable be able to be fired under state laws.

Employers may be prohibited from firing employees simply because they don’t want to pay toward their retirement, healthcare or commission. Such a violation would be considered a violation of good faith and fair dealing covenant.

Employers here in New Jersey enjoy a lot of liberties when it comes to terminating an employee. There are instances, though, in which company owners overstep their authority. A wrongful termination attorney can review your case and confirm whether or not you may want to file suit against your employer here in Burlington.