New Jersey Retaliatory Discharge Lawyer
An employer can normally fire an employee for any reason they wish–or without even giving a reason. But it is illegal in New Jersey for an employer to fire someone in retaliation for exercising a legally protected right or they belong to a protected class. Similarly, an employer cannot discharge an employee for refusing to engage in any act that may be illegal or otherwise contradict the “public policy” of the state.
If you believe that you were fired because you refused to act in a manner contrary to law, an experienced New Jersey retaliatory discharge lawyer can help. At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, we represent individuals such as yourself who have been illegally discharged for standing up and trying to do the right thing. We can help you attempt to recover lost wages and other monetary damages against an employer who has wronged you.
What Counts as “Public Policy” in a Wrongful Termination Case?
New Jersey law states that an employer cannot discharge–fire–an employee for refusing to violate a “clear mandate of public policy.” What qualifies as a “clear mandate” will depend on the specific facts of a given case. Some common examples of public policy include:
- the United States and New Jersey constitutions;
- federal and state legislation;
- administrative rules, regulations, and decisions;
- judicial decisions; or
- a professional code of ethics that serves a public purpose.
Where a clear public policy exists, an employer violates the law if they fire an employee who:
- refuses to violate the policy;
- exercises any rights protected by the policy;
- declines to perform an act or acts that require a violation of the policy.
One thing to note is that an employee only needs a “reasonable basis” to believe their employer is violating public policy or encouraging a violation of public policy. To prevail on a retaliation claim, the employee does not have to prove the employer actually violated public policy. But the employee does need to show they expressed “disagreement” with the possible violation beforehand, such as by complaining to management or acting as a whistleblower to a government agency.
Additionally, even if you are not fired for reporting or refusing to participate in a possible violation of public policy, you may still be the victim of other forms of workplace retaliation. For example, your employer may demote or reassign you in retaliation for refusing to participate in an illegal act. Such retaliation is also illegal in New Jersey and you have the right to sue your employer for damages if it occurs.
New Jersey Retaliatory Discharge Lawyers Serving Ocean, Monmouth & Middlesex County
It is one thing for your boss to assign you a task that you find distasteful or even repugnant. That is often part of any job. But when your employer asks you to do something illegal or that otherwise contravenes clearly mandated public policy, that is going a step too far. If you have been fired or disciplined for standing up to your employer and need legal advice from a skilled New Jersey retaliatory discharge lawyer, contact Poulos LoPiccolo PC today to schedule an initial consultation.