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Wrongful Termination Archives

Claiming wrongful termination from at-will employment

It is not always simple to know when or if you can challenge your termination from work, especially if you are employed at-will. An overly simplistic understanding of at-will employment may lead many people to think that an employer can simply fire an employee for any reason without recourse, but this is not the case.

Were you fired for taking protected time off work?

While some employers offer generous benefits packages that include personal allowances to take time off for many reasons, nearly all employees may take time off for certain protected reasons, according to federal law. If an employee requests unpaid time off for one of these protected reasons, the employer must allow it in most instances, and may not retaliate against an employee who enforces his or her rights.

Was your termination discriminatory?

With the recent emphasis on discrimination in the workplace that has dominated the news over the past year, it's a wonder that any employer would risk the legal and financial consequences of a discriminatory firing, but that doesn't seem to be stopping some. You may find yourself suddenly out of a job for reasons that are either unclear or don't seem to align with the facts as you known them, and may have grounds to believe that your own termination is actually discriminatory.

Can your employer fire you for whistleblowing?

If you see something illegal occur at the workplace, you have a responsibility to report it to the proper authority, known as whistleblowing. However, in many instances, your employer may not want you to report it, and may attempt to dissuade you or punish you for following your conscience. In some extreme instances, an employer may even fire you.

Professor sues after firing over political activism

A former adjunct professor recently filed a lawsuit against Essex County College, claiming that her employment ended wrongfully after she appeared on national television defending the Black Lives Matter movement. The professor further claims that the college not only wrongfully terminated her for expressing her views, it also violated her protections under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act in the process.

What is the implied contract exception in at-will employment?

At-will employment allows both an employer and an employee to end their professional relationship for any reason or no particular reason at all, provided that a termination does not violate some existing federal or state law. In many cases, terminations that indicate some form of discrimination in the workplace may not qualify under blameless at-will termination, for instance. In most states, including New Jersey, an employer is very likely to have employees sign an at-will employment agreement to protect his or her right to terminate them at any time.

Did your employer fire you in violation of your contract?

Often, when an employer fires an employee, the employee simply accepts that he or she must move on without questioning the validity of the firing. However, it is always wise to review one's employment contract, if it's available. In some cases, a terminated employee may find that the termination is not supported by the contract, and may have legal grounds to fight the action.

Proving retaliatory firing may mean getting creative

Many employees suspect that a former employer terminated them unfairly, but not all believe that they have sufficient grounds to pursue legal action against the employer for wrongful termination or retaliation. In order to prove that a particular firing was retaliatory, a former employee must first meet three standards.

Strengthening your wrongful termination claim

If you believe that you were recently wrongly terminated from your job, there is a chance you can bring a successful wrongful termination suit and find justice — but even in a successful scenario, you're a long way from the finish line. In the meantime, the actions you take now may help you weather this difficult season well or dismantle your claim. Be sure to consider how your actions may affect the fair settlement you may choose to seek.

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