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Can I sue my employer for firing me for being late only once?

I see questions similar to this one, quite often. I often feel I have answered this question several times and presume that everyone should know by now what grounds can be used to sue your Employer – WRONG! Many people still believe that they can sue their employer if they feel that they were fired for something trivial and to them, “not a big deal”. The unfortunate truth is that is simply not true. Your employer can fire you for being late once, never being late, because you are not a good fit, they do not like your personality, your job performance, because they want to, etc.…

Employees, besides those under some form of contractual agreement that changes this Status, are usually considered “at-will”. At-will employment means an employee can be terminated by their employer for any reason (except illegal purpose) and without notice. Almost every state, except for maybe one, has adopted laws that protect employers who have at-will employment setup.

With that said, employees are not without any protections. Despite being an at-will employee, your employer cannot terminate your employment, demote you or force you to resign from your work, retaliate against you because you are in a protected class. They may not retaliate against you because you reported illegal conduct.

In Federal Court, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals from employment discrimination based on race, color, National Origin, sex, and religion. It applies to employers who have 15 or more employees.

In New Jersey, The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (N.J.S.A. 10:5-12) (LAD) makes it unlawful to subject people to differential treatment based on race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex (including pregnancy), familial status, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or physical disability, perceived disability, and AIDS and HIV status. The LAD prohibits unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, places of public accommodation, credit and business contracts[1]

There are other exceptions as well, such as a violation of a labor law – such as failing to pay you for work; a contractual relationship that states the specific grounds upon which you may be terminated, which alters your at-will status; you may be a member of a Union. However, it is imperative that before you go home and tell your family you are in for a payday because your job fired you for no reason – put on the brakes and contacts an employment lawyer. If you do not fit into that narrow window just discussed, you likely have no case and a knowledgeable attorney will likely tell you the same.

If you do fall into this narrow corridor for recovery, remember that typically you have two years to file a complaint for recovery.

Every wrong is not legally actionable!

 

[1] http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/law.html



This post first appeared on Sadr.com, please read the originial post: here

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Can I sue my employer for firing me for being late only once?

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