New Jersey Law: When is the Termination Illegal?

Termination is commonplace in New Jersey: employees are laid off when companies are downsizing or when the employers choose to diversify. Nevertheless, New Jersey employees are covered by the state’s broad and liberally interpreted employment laws.

If you have been laid off from work, but you have reasons to believe that the termination was uncalled for, then you shouldn’t let it slide or procrastinate about it. The best thing that you can do is to contact lawyer Ravi Sattiraju to establish whether your termination was legal or not.  Top lawyers in New Jersey offer a free case review, which a win-win case for you since you won’t have to pay anything to confirm whether your case is worth pursuing or not.

So, when is the termination illegal? Here are some legally actionable wrongful terminations.

Discriminatory firing

The federal law protects employees from being terminated based on a protected characteristic. An employer has no right to fire you based on your nationality, sex, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, HIV/AIDs, religion, gender expression or identity, military service, atypical hereditary blood or cellular trait or national origin. In addition to this group, the law also prohibits employers from firing their employees because of being pregnant or having a medical condition that occurs due to pregnancy or childbirth. If you happen to be discriminated against on any of the grounds mentioned above, then you can file a discriminatory firing lawsuit against your employer.


Generally, employers cannot fire someone for practicing his or her rights under the federal or state anti-discrimination laws. If a female employee is terminated for complaining that she’s not getting equal pay as her male colleague in a similar position as her, then an employer might lose the retaliation lawsuit even when they provide evidence to show that the pay schedules were not discriminatory based on gender.

Breach of contract

In New Jersey, there’s something called “employment at will” which is a rule which states that unless you have an individual or group employment contract or a lawful entitlement to your job like a civil service or tenured position, then you can be terminated for any or no reason, with or without notice. But there are exceptions; an employer cannot fire you based on things like retaliation, illegal discrimination, time off work, wage and hour issues and so on. Besides, if you’ve got an employment contract guaranteeing you job security, then the “employment at will” may not apply to your case.

Keep in mind that an employment contract may be implied, oral or written. In the last two kinds of contracts, the employer writes or makes verbal promises not to dismiss you for a given amount of time for no good reason. An implied contract, on the other hand, is where the employer acts in a manner that leads you to believe that you’ll still be employed. For instance, if your handbook says you’ll only be dismissed for good cause, that’s an implied contract. If the employer goes ahead and terminates you despite you having any of these contracts, then you can file a breach of contract suit.

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