Wrongful Termination Claims Attorney
While New Jersey and New York are “employment at will” states, meaning that an employer can generally terminate an employee for any reason at all without notice, a host of federal and state laws make it against the law for employers to take adverse employment actions for certain reasons or under certain circumstances.
Being fired is hard enough to handle when you know that there was a fair and legitimate reason. If, however, you have been wrongfully terminated, it makes a bad situation considerably worse. The New York/New Jersey wrongful termination attorneys at Ginarte Gonzalez & Winograd may be able to help. A thorough investigation must be completed by an experienced wrongful termination attorney in order to determine if your firing qualifies as a wrongful termination in the eyes of the law.
Wrongful termination cases are typically very complicated to analyze, which is why each case requires a careful individual review. If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, contact the New York/New Jersey wrongful termination attorneys at the Ginarte law firm today by calling 888-GINARTE (446-2783), or fill out our online contact form, in order to schedule your free consultation.
What Is Wrongful Termination?
The term “wrongful termination” is misleading to some people. In the context of employment law, the word “wrongful” does not refer to a moral sense of right or wrong. Instead, wrongful termination is a legal term that refers to terminating an employee in violation of state or federal anti-discrimination laws.
Although an employee may feel that he or she was fired unfairly or without just cause, the legal reality is that in New York and New Jersey an employee can be terminated for almost any reason – or for no reason at all. In New York and New Jersey, as is the case in most states, most employment is considered employment “at will.” The term “at will” reflects the fact that an employee is employed at the will of the employer. Unless the employee is working under an employment contract, an employer can terminate the employment at any time for any reason, as long as the reason does not violate state or federal anti-discrimination laws.
Wrongful Termination under an Employment Contract
One exception, under both New Jersey and New York laws, to the employment at will status of most jobs is when an employee is working under an employment contract. The contract can be written or implied. Terms of a collective bargaining agreement, details found in an offer-of-employment letter or even procedures outlined in your employer’s employment manual may also qualify as an employment contract for purposes of a wrongful termination action if your termination violates those terms.
When an employer terminates an employee without adhering to the terms or procedures found in an employment contract, then the employee may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Wrongful Termination for Violation of Discrimination Laws
Another exception to New York and New Jersey’s default position that employment is at will is when the termination violates a state or federal anti-discrimination statute. Under a federal law, referred to as Title VII, an employer cannot hire or fire someone based on the individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Title VII applies only to employers that have more than 15 employees. It does not apply to domestic servants, independent contractors or anyone who is employed by a spouse, child or parent.
In addition to federal law, both New York and New Jersey have enacted legislation that addresses discrimination in the workplace under state law. Both the New York and New Jersey statutes provide additional protections to workers. In addition, a worker may also have a claim for wrongful termination if the termination was retaliatory in nature, meaning that the employee was fired for speaking out against illegal practices or unfair treatment in the workplace. Exercising your right to take family or medical leave is also protected under the law and cannot be the basis for termination. Nor can you be fired for making a workers’ compensation claim.
New York Anti-Discrimination Statutes
In New York, both the New York State Human Rights Law, or NYSHRL, and the New York City Human Rights Law, or NYCHRL, may provide an employee with additional protection against wrongful termination. Under the NYSHRL, which applies to employers with four or more employees, an employer may not terminate an employee based on age, pregnancy, race, sex, gender, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status or military status.
The NYCHRL goes even further than either federal or state law by including citizenship status, physical/mental disability, arrest record and victim status under its protected classes. It also protects against termination because of a person’s association with a member of one of the legally protected classifications.
New Jersey Anti-Discrimination Statutes
New Jersey provides employee protection above and beyond that afforded under federal law through the Law Against Discrimination, or LAD. New Jersey’s LAD applies to all employers and protects a worker from being terminated on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or disability.
Contact the New York/New Jersey Wrongful Termination Attorneys at the Ginarte Law Firm Today
Wrongful termination cases are very fact-sensitive, meaning that it is often difficult to determine whether the termination was unlawful without conducting an in-depth investigation into the facts. The best way to determine if you have been the victim of a wrongful termination is to consult with a wrongful termination attorney.
If you have been the victim of a wrongful termination, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Ginarte law firm now to find out what legal options you may have. Call 888-GINARTE (446-2783) for your free consultation, or fill out our online contact form.