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Do employers in New Jersey have the authority to fire you for no reason?

Employment is subject to change in New Jersey. This means that until something specifically states otherwise, an employee in New Jersey is considered to be employed at will. 

Most states operate under this standard. An employee employed at will is subject to termination without notice for practically any reason. Nonetheless, this statement is generalized. 

People are still left to question if they can be dismissed in New Jersey without cause in the end.

As you can see, employers, who are by default given the at-will status in New Jersey, are free to fire workers at any time. In any case, employers who fire an employee in error may be held accountable.

Get in touch with a Paramus wrongful termination attorney if you believe you were wrongfully terminated.

Can you be fired without cause?

If a worker is regarded as an “at-will” worker, their employment may be terminated at any time and without cause. Employees who are “at-will” may be fired at any time without explanation. However, the word “any” is crucial. 

Due to legal protections, there are some reasons an employer cannot fire an employee. Employers risk facing legal repercussions if they dismiss an employee for one of these protected grounds.

As a start, it is illegal for employers to fire an employee engaging in legal or constitutionally protected activity. Thus, a worker cannot be fired by their employer for refusing to participate in a criminal action or for reporting it.

Furthermore, a poor faith termination is not permitted by employers. As you can see, employers must act honestly, and it is also against the law to fire an employee in an unjustified manner.

If an employee is fired in bad faith, it may be compared to when a company fires a worker just before retirement to avoid paying retirement benefits. A worker dismissed for frequently using employment benefits can also fall under this category.

The law also protects employees from unfair terminations. Federal and state laws are in place to safeguard individuals from encountering discrimination at work. 

This protection is provided under two federal laws:

  • the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and 
  • the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

No employee can be fired because of a protected feature, regardless of whether they are considered “at-will” employees or not. Protected traits consist of:

  • Age
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex