The Firm offers legal services to individuals who need assistance in the area of employment law such as wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, unemployment benefits, employee rights, discrimination based on race, creed, national origin or nationality, age, disability, sex, familial status, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, etc.
Discrimination in Employment. Although New Jersey is an “employment at will” state—meaning that, in the absence of an employment contract, an employer may fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all, employees in New Jersey nonetheless have many rights and protections under federal and state laws. For instance, under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, an employer may not discriminate against an employee based on his or her race, creed (religion), military status, national origin, nationality, age, disability, familial or marital status, sex, pregnancy, gender identity, or sexual orientation. While some discriminatory acts can be blatant, more often however, discrimination takes a more subtle form such as discriminatory treatment in promotions, compensation and fringe benefits, job assignments and duties, hiring, and layoffs.
Race Discrimination. In New Jersey, discrimination based on race or color is specifically prohibited.
Creed or Religion Discrimination. In New Jersey, discrimination based on one’s religion, including being atheist or agnostic, is also prohibited.
Age Discrimination. In New Jersey, an employer cannot discriminate against an existing or prospective employee based on his or her age. This protection applies to any person who is at least 18 years old. (Unlike the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects employees who are 40 and older, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination applies to those who are at least 18 years old).
Disability Discrimination. In New Jersey, discrimination in employment based on one’s disability – whether it is physical or mental, actual or perceived – is prohibited. The law also requires that no employee may be denied employment because of his or her disability and such an employee must be provided with reasonable accommodation(s), unless such accommodation(s) would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
Familial or Marital Status Discrimination. In New Jersey, discrimination based on one’s familial or marital status – e.g., based on the fact that a person is married or single, or that a person is a domestic partner or civil union partner – is unlawful.
Sex Discrimination. It is unlawful for an employer to treat women differently based on their sex by paying lower wages or salaries, assigning additional duties to female employees but not male employees with the same job functions, or denying women advancement opportunities for which they are otherwise qualified. Sex discrimination also includes pregnancy discrimination, which is also prohibited.
Gender Identity or Expression. In New Jersey, an employer may not discriminate against a person based on his or her gender identity or expression, regardless of that person’s sex designated at birth.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination. Discrimination in employment based on one’s sexual orientation is prohibited in New Jersey.
- Helpful Links: http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/law.html#LAD
Unemployment Insurance Benefits. If you believe that you might be eligible for unemployment benefits—i.e., you have been terminated/laid off, you are available and able to work, are actively seeking work and not refusing any suitable work—you should file your claim as soon as possible after your employment was terminated. After the claim was filed, the Department of Labor will send a Notice of Benefit Determination, which will include information about your benefits (e.g., amount of benefits, employers you’ve worked for, wages paid, etc.) as well as a statement of appeal rights. If there is any issue with the claim, you will receive a notice of a telephone interview with the monetary representative (if the amount is in question) or with the claims examiner (e.g., if the employer claims that the employee voluntary quit or was terminated for misconduct). Based on the information gathered prior to and during the telephone interview (at which both the employee and employer may participate), the claims examiner will either approve or deny the unemployment benefits. If the claim for unemployment benefits was denied, either party may appeal the claims examiner’s decision to the Appeal Tribunal; the appeal must be made either within 10 days from the decision or 7 days from the receipt of the decision. The Appeal Tribunal will schedule a hearing which will be conducted by an Examiner, most likely over the phone; any evidence must be submitted to the Examiner prior to the hearing. If either party is not satisfied with the decision of the Appeal Tribunal, they have 20 days to appeal to the Board of Review.
If you need assistance with claiming your unemployment benefits or appeal of their denial, the Firm offers help with filing of initial claims, representation during interviews with the claims examiner, and appealing of the denial of unemployment benefits before the Appeal Tribunal and the Board of Review.
- Helpful link(s): http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/ui/ui_index.html
Severance and Separation Agreement Review. As part of the termination of the employer-employee relationship, the employers increasingly require that the departing employee sign a separation agreement, offering in exchange a severance package. Such separation agreements often include a release of all existing and potential claims against the employer and may include other terms, such as confidentiality and non-compete clauses, as well as other terms and conditions. Thus, it is important to ensure that the offered severance package is fair and represents an adequate compensation for the separation agreement.