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Can an at-will employee also be wrongfully terminated?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2020 | Wrongful Termination |

It can create a significant economic hardship if you’re fired. A loss of a job can make it hard for a worker to find future employment. You should realize that not all terminations are lawful though. If you’ve been fired from your job due to retaliation or discrimination, for example, then you may have fallen victim to wrongful termination. While it may not be easy to file a lawsuit in such instances as an at-will employee, it’s not completely out of question.

New Jersey is an at-will employment state much like the many others here in this country. At-will employees are those that an employer can fire without notice and without having to give a valid reason. Generally, employees have a right to quit with little or no notice, and employers are typically afforded the same privilege.

Some workers here in New Jersey are asked to sign an employment-at-will agreement or contract on their first day on the job. Even if they’re not, courts generally regard you as an at-will employee in this state.

There are instances when firing an at-will employee is unlawful, such as if a worker takes family leave or has a medical emergency. It’s also unlawful for an employer to fire a worker based on their gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political beliefs or age. If a worker is fired for exercising a privilege such as taking breaks, filing a worker’s compensation claim or serving on jury duty, then that too would be against the law.

Terminating an employee for being a whistleblower isn’t legal. If there was a breach of a written or spoken employment contract, then that would fall under the definition of wrongful termination. There’s also something known as constructive dismissal or discharge. Constructive dismissal takes place when working conditions become so intolerable that an employee is forced to quit or resign.

If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, then you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Proving that you were wrongfully terminated from a job may be more complicated to do if you’re an at-will employee.

The best thing that you can do is to take all of your ill-treatment that you’ve amassed and have a wrongful termination attorney review it. Your Burlington lawyer will advise you if they believe that what happened to you warrants you filing a lawsuit in your case.