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New Jersey Employment Lawyers > Blog > Wrongful Termination > Can You Be Fired in New Jersey If You Did Not Do Anything Wrong?

Can You Be Fired in New Jersey If You Did Not Do Anything Wrong?


New Jersey is an at-will employment state. As described by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the standard means that a relationship between an employer and employee is presumed to be voluntary and can be ended at any reason and for any time—but for violations of the law. Can you be fired in New Jersey if you never did anything wrong? Technically, the answer is “yes”—though the specific circumstances always matter. Here, our Monmouth County wrongful termination attorney highlights the key things to understand about being fired if you did not do anything wrong in New Jersey.

An Employer in New Jersey Does Not Need “Cause” to Terminate an Employee 

As noted previously, New Jersey—similar to virtually every other state—operates under an at-will employment system. A core principle of at-will employment is that an employer can fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all—as long as the reason is not illegal. The concept might seem unfair, but it is the law. An employer does not need to prove the employee did something wrong to terminate them. The bottom line is that you can be fired if you did nothing wrong in New Jersey. You may not have a claim.

 There are Some Big Exceptions: Employer Cannot Terminate Worker for Illegal Reason: 

While an employer in New Jersey does not need “cause” to terminate an employee, there are limits. An employer cannot discharge a worker in violation of the law. If they do, that employer can be held liable for wrongful termination. You may have a wrongful termination claim on any of the following grounds:

  • Discrimination: One of the most significant exceptions to the “at-will” rule is discrimination. Under both New Jersey state law and federal law, it is illegal for employers to fire someone based on their race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics.
  • Retaliation: Retaliation is another area where employers must tread carefully. It’s illegal for an employer to fire an employee for engaging in protected activities. These activities include filing a complaint about discrimination or harassment, participating in an investigation, or complaining about unsafe working conditions.
  • Breach of Contract: Finally, if you have a contract with your employer, they must adhere to what’s written in that contract. If your contract says you can only be fired for certain reasons and your employer does not follow these terms, this could be a breach of contract. You may have a wrongful termination claim on the grounds of breach of contract.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With Our New Jersey Wrongful Termination Lawyer

At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, our New Jersey employment law attorney is committed to putting the best interests of clients first. Have questions about a wrongful termination case or any other type of complex employment law matter? We are here to help. Give us a call now or contact us online for a completely confidential case evaluation. From our law office in Monmouth County, we represent employers in wrongful termination cases throughout New Jersey.



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