Recently, I wrote a short column about starting a new job, and the importance of knowing your employee rights before you begin work. This was all due to the recent statistic that before you’re 32, you will have an average of 4 different jobs. That blog was all about the start of a new job and new workplace. This is to inform you of some of your rights when leaving a position with a company both on good terms and bad.
New Jersey is known as an at-will employer which means that either the employee or employer may be dismissed from the job for any reason barring one that is based on the employees protected class. The protected classes are those people with common characteristics and fall under anti-discrimination laws (racial minorities, those over 40, the handicapped, etc.) It is illegal for an employer to fire an employee on the basis of discrimination. An employee also cannot be fired for a protected activity; this includes complaining of harassment, filing a worker’s compensation claim, or participating in an investigation of the employer.
After the employee has departed from the company, the employer may disclose the true nature of the departure both to their former co-workers and to future potential employers. He is even allowed to misrepresent the reason for the departure. This known as a ‘qualified privilege,’ and is in place to protect people and businesses from someone they believe is dishonest. It’s the idea that in good faith and without malice, the employer believes he is doing what’s best for the community.
Losing a job can be an incredibly difficult situation especially if it was for an unjust or discriminatory reason. The stress can be immense. Still the employee is entitled to benefits including collecting unemployment. They have to have worked at the job for 12 months and have made a certain amount of money. The person attempting to get unemployment will need to prove that they were not fired for misconduct or voluntarily quit.
If you believe you’ve been improperly fired due to your status in a protected class, reach out for a free consultation with the Simon Law Group it’s imperative to your future.
If you are seeking representation for an employment law or discrimination case, call today for a free consultation 800-709-1131 or fill out a contact form on our website for a no-cost consultation. We hope to hear from you today!