Retaliation & Wrongful Termination Attorneys in New Jersey
Were You Illegally Punished or Fired? We Can Help!
If you were recently reprimanded or fired from work, you might be wondering if what happened to you was legal. In short, it’s illegal for your employer to fire or otherwise retaliate against you because you engaged in a legally protected activity, such as speaking up about discrimination, wage practices, or safety issues.
If you think your employer retaliated for an unlawful reason, you can hold them accountable with help from The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C.. Our New Jersey retaliation and wrongful termination lawyers are experienced legal advocates when it comes to helping employees assert their rights. With our assistance, you can seek legal remedies such as being compensated for losses and emotional distress suffered because of your employer’s actions.
What is Wrongful Termination?
When an employer fires an employee for an illegal reason, it is called wrongful termination. When this happens it is important to reach out to a New Jersey wrongful termination lawyer as soon as possible. If you have been wrongfully terminated, you may be able to sue your former employer.
Generally this happens when you are fired for participating in a protected workplace activity. You will need to prove that the firing was illegal and that you suffered damages because of it. Contact a NJ wrongful termination lawyer from The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. to discuss your case.
What is a Protected Activity in the Workplace?
Getting fired or receiving disciplinary action at work is incredibly stressful, even when it is not motivated by an illegal reason. Typically, an illegal reason to terminate or retaliate against an employee is when the employer wants to punish them for engaging in a protected activity. Engaging in protected activity is something an employee has a right to do without fearing reprisal from their employer.
Protected activities at work can include the following:
- Reporting sexual harassment
- Speaking up against discrimination
- Demanding unpaid earned wages or unpaid overtime
- Requesting or taking FMLA leave
- Being a whistleblower or participating in an investigation
- Complaining about workplace safety violations of OSHA regulations
Employees should expect to participate in protected activities such as these without fear. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against the employee in any way for doing so. If retaliation does occur and involves firing the employee, the incident may validate a wrongful termination claim.
What Are Common Causes of Wrongful Termination?
In New Jersey, common causes of wrongful termination cases often revolve around two primary factors: discrimination and retaliation.
Terminations rooted in discrimination take place when an employer dismisses a staff member on the grounds of their race, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or other safeguarded traits. Both federal and state laws in New Jersey classify such terminations as unlawful.
Terminations caused by retaliation arise when an employer fires a worker due to the worker exercising their rights, such as reporting instances of harassment, engaging in an investigation, or lodging a complaint about the conditions of the workplace. The laws in New Jersey shield workers from termination as a form of punitive action.
Another common cause is the violation of public policy, which involves firing an employee for refusing to participate in illegal activities or for reporting such activities (whistleblowing).
Lastly, if an employer doesn't follow the terms outlined in an employment contract or violates the company's own termination procedures, it can also be grounds for a wrongful termination case.
Examples of Workplace Retaliation
Retaliation at work can include getting fired, but it’s not limited to that. Cunning employers are well aware of the law and may take less overt measures to punish employees for illegal reasons.
Acts of retaliation an employer may use can include the following and more:
- Selection for a layoff
- Failure to promote
- Denial of benefits
- Reduced hours or loss of the opportunity to work overtime
- Suddenly negative performance reviews
- Physical violence
Measures that could be otherwise unlawful – like a demotion – may be masked to appear as if the employee is being reprimanded for a legitimate reason. Negative performance reviews can be concocted to this effect. That’s why it’s important to consider the circumstances surrounding a potential act of retaliation, such as whether the employee recently engaged in a protected activity or if their supervisor holds biases against people with protected characteristics.
Damages From a Wrongful Termination or Retaliation Claim
Our workplace retaliation lawyers in New Jersey can provide the legal support you need and thoroughly investigate your retaliation or wrongful termination claim.
We can file a lawsuit to help you recover damages for this extreme violation of your rights, including:
- Back pay
- Loss of benefits
- Emotional distress
- and possibly punitive damages
If you need help, reach out to The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. for help. Contact us online or call (856) 746-6332 to arrange a free consultation with our New Jersey retaliation and wrongful termination lawyers.
How Can a Person Prove They Were Fired Illegally?
To prove wrongful termination, one must essentially establish that the firing breached a fundamental employment law or contract. Here are some steps to consider:
- Document Everything: Keep a record of all conversations, actions, and incidents that led to your termination. Emails, memos, performance reviews, or any other form of correspondence can serve as evidence.
- Identify Violations: Determine if your termination violated federal or state laws. These could include anti-discrimination laws, whistleblower protections, or laws against retaliation.
- Employment Agreements: If your firing violated the stipulations of your employment agreement, it might form the basis for a claim of wrongful termination.
- Organizational Rules: If your employer failed to adhere to their own set discharge protocols as indicated in the staff handbook, this could bolster your case.
- Witness Statements: Colleague testimonies corroborating your claim can be very useful.
- Legal Assistance: Engage an employment attorney to guide you through the process. They can help identify if you have a case and how best to present your evidence.
Each situation is unique and what might work in one case may not apply in another. Get in touch with a professional wrongful termination lawyer in New Jersey with years of experience in employment law. The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C. can provide advice based on your specific situation.
What to Consider Before Suing for Wrongful Termination
Before deciding to sue for wrongful termination, an employee should consider several important factors:
- Evidence of Wrongdoing: The first thing to consider is whether there is tangible evidence of wrongful conduct by the employer. This could be in the form of emails, texts, performance reviews, or eyewitness accounts that suggest unfair treatment or discrimination.
- Employment Contract: If there was an employment contract involved, it's crucial to review the terms of this contract. It may contain clauses about termination procedures that could potentially support a wrongful termination claim.
- Financial Considerations: Litigation can be costly. Employees should assess their financial resources and consider whether they can afford the legal fees involved. It's also important to consider potential compensation - is it likely to cover the costs of the lawsuit?
- Emotional Toll: Lawsuits can consume a significant amount of time and emotional energy. The stress involved in a legal battle should not be underestimated.
- Legal Advice: Lastly, it is imperative that you get legal advice from skilled wrongful termination lawyers in NJ. A labor law specialist can offer advice on the case's viability, possible losses, and the procedure as a whole.
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