Employers and employees part ways for various reasons, but in some cases, companies do not share the particulars. This can leave a terminated worker wondering what happened and if the firing was legal. Is an employer required to provide a reason for termination?
In New Jersey, most employees fall into the at-will category. So unless you signed a contract stating otherwise or belong to an employees’ union, that would likely be your status. At-will employees can quit of their own accord but can also be terminated for any reason. Their employers are not legally obligated to provide the reason, but they often do. The most common causes include poor performance, failing a drug test, customer complaints, and company cost-cutting measures.
Employees cannot be terminated for discriminatory reasons, however. Some laws prevent companies from terminating workers based on age, disability, race, religion, sex, and other protected categories.
Employees cannot be fired for refusing to violate public policies or laws, filing for Workers’ Compensation, or reporting unsafe or illegal employer activities. Another exception would be an employee who was terminated in bad faith. A few examples of that include being fired right before retirement so the company will not have to pay those benefits and firing an employee who uses their health benefits often.
Employees with contracts can be protected from wrongful termination if the employer breaks the contract without an acceptable reason. Implied contracts can serve the same purpose; they need not be actual written contracts because the terms could be in a job manual, stated in a verbal commitment, or found elsewhere.
My Employer Did Not Give Me a Reason for Firing Me
Since employers are not technically required by law to let at-will employees know why they were fired, they often keep quiet about the reason. The employee might be well aware of the reason, but if they do not, they might think the employer is hiding something from them. If this has happened to you, read over all the employer paperwork from when you were hired. If available, look at the company manual and remember everything that occurred before you were notified. Take as many notes as possible.
You are within your rights to ask the employer why you were terminated, and it is a good idea to get that information in writing. Wrongful termination laws, including federal and state anti-discrimination laws, prevent companies from firing workers under certain circumstances.
Our Marlton Employment Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Fight to Protect Employee Rights
Being out of work can lead to financial difficulties, but certain rights may be violated when employers terminate employees illegally. If you feel an employer wrongfully terminated you, contact our Marlton employment lawyers at Burnham Douglass. We offer free consultations. Complete our online form or call us at 856-751-5505. Located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Evesham Township, Cherry Hill, Camden County, Burlington County, Northfield, and Atlantic City.