Workers who have been terminated from their jobs have rights. Most people who lose their jobs believe that they need to move on without pay, live without their insurance, and find another job. Unfortunately, workers often do not understand their rights. New Jersey is an at-will employment state. Employers can terminate employees without cause at any time, and employees can resign at any time without cause or notice. Employees can also leave if they find a new job; this may be especially helpful if workers believe they will be terminated.
In spite of at-will employment laws in New Jersey, employees cannot be fired due to discriminatory practices. Discrimination can occur due to gender, race, religion, disability, pregnancy, and even blood traits. If employees experienced discrimination, they must take the appropriate action to protect themselves by consulting with an experienced employment attorney.
What are Contract and Statutory Rights?
Contract and statutory rights are defined by both the law and a contract or collective-bargaining agreement that may have been reached. When workers are terminated, they have rights under their contract. At the same time, workers also have rights under state and federal law. Additionally, employees may have a verbal agreement with their employers. This agreement is not written, but the agreement stands in the mind of the employee. Because of this, a lawyer needs to prove that the verbal agreement exists and move to have that agreement honored.
For example, workers are often eligible for unemployment, and they are still eligible for Workers’ Compensation if they were injured or become injured before their employment ends. Workers are also eligible to withdraw their vacation days or sick days depending on their contract or company policy. If these rights have not been upheld, terminated employees should reach out to an attorney.
Should Workers Document Instances of Discrimination/Favoritism?
Employees should document all instances of discrimination and/or favoritism that they experience. Workers have the right to file a complaint with the corporation’s human resources department that is free from retaliation or termination. Retaliation on the part of the business is illegal under federal law. Additionally, workers have the right to work in an environment that is free from hostility.
Do Terminated Employees Need to Sign Anything?
Employees do not need to sign anything when they are terminated. Employers often attempt to have employees in the room with a human resources representative. The employee might be asked to sign documents, such as a non-disclosure agreement or non-compete agreement. Employees should not sign anything without an attorney present. A simple release might also be included in this paperwork, which will make it difficult for the terminated employee to file a claim against their former employer.
Can Terminated Employees Communicate with Former Colleagues?
Terminated employees can speak with their former colleagues, but they must make general, benign, and simple statements to anyone they know about their former employer. Anything that is said can be used against the employee.
Will a Severance Package be Provided?
When companies are planning layoffs, they often create a severance package that will be provided to each employee. Employees are often offered a severance package based on their current income and years of service. Severance packages are not guaranteed, and they do not absolve employers of wrongdoing. An employee’s 401(k) can be moved to their new employer, or they can leave those funds in the account until they are ready to transfer that money.
South Jersey Employment Lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC Advocate for Workers’ Rights
Reach out to the South Jersey employment lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC when you have been terminated and need to know your rights. We help our clients protect themselves when they may have been wrongfully terminated or experienced discrimination that led to termination. Call us today at 856-235-7075 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we serve workers throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County.