What is Employment Law?
Employment law is the group of legal rights that employees have in the workplace. Important employment laws in New Jersey and New York include the right to be free from unlawful discrimination, workplace harassment, and retaliation. Employment law rights also include your rights under oral and written employment contracts, rights and obligations under non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, and in some instances the right to receive severance pay. Other important employment law rights include entitlements under wage and hour laws, like the right to receive minimum wage and overtime pay, and rights under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA), such as the right to take time due to a serious health condition or pregnancy.
Do I Have a Legal Claim if I Was Fired Unfairly?
Not necessarily. People often use the terms “wrongful termination” and “wrongful discharge” in ways that suggest any unfair firing is illegal. However, in New Jersey and New York not every unfair termination is legally actionable. Unless you have a term employment contract (like a one-year employment contract), are a civil service employee, or are a union member, you probably are an employee at will.
What is Employment At Will?
Employment at will means that no matter how unfair the decision seems, unless your employer has violated a specific law it can fire you for any reason, or even for no reason at all. Likewise, you can quit for any reason or for no reason.
What Are My Employment Law Rights?
Fortunately, there are many exceptions to employment at will in New York and New Jersey. For example, in either state it is unlawful for a company to fire you because of your age, disability, race, color, national origin, gender, pregnancy, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran or military status.
Similarly, you cannot be fired for objecting to a violation of an anti-discrimination law or under a wage and hour law, or for asking for time off under the FMLA. In fact, New Jersey has a very broad whistleblower law, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), that among other things protects employees who object to or refuse to participate in illegal, fraudulent, or criminal actions by their employers.
Other Important Employment Law Rights
Employees in New Jersey and New York have many other important employment laws and rights, including rights relating to:
- Sexual Harassment
- Workplace Harassment
- Employment Contracts
- Family and Medical Leaves
- Minimum Wage and Overtime
- Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities and Religious Beliefs
- Unemployment Insurance Benefits
- Constitutional Civil Rights
- Mass Layoffs and Reductions in Force (RIFs)
- Employee Handbooks
- Employment Offer Letters
- Oppressed Minority Shareholders
- Independent Contractors Misclassified as Independent Contractors
- Workplace Privacy
- Intentional Workplace Personal Injuries (Torts)
The Nirenberg Law Firm Can Help
Our employment law attorneys are dedicated to enforcing your workplace rights. If your employment law rights have been violated in either New Jersey or New York, we can help. Please call us at (201) 487-2700, or contact us online.
In addition to handling employment law lawsuits, mediations and arbitrations, our attorneys are experienced at representing employees who have employment law appeals. In fact, we have participated in numerous precedent setting cases.