Asked 11 months ago - Jersey City, NJFlag
I was terminated from my job and I feel that the process in which I got terminated was wrong. My GM at my job brought me into her office 5 minuets before the end of my shift and fired me for tardiness. I understand that is and issue, but when I look at the company website, it says that there is a process for termination. Its 3 verbal notices, 1 write up, suspension, and then termination. I am very concerned because I see that there are plenty of people that I work with that have met with her because of tardiness and yet, I am the only one being penalized for it. The next day after i got terminated, one of my managers called me and told me that an old employee that has been there over 12 years got written up for 50 lates. (and this is just one example.) Why am I the only one getting fired?
Employment termination cases are often complex and require a detailed review by an attorney who handles plaintiffs/employee cases and whos practice includes employment discrimination. In New Jeresey, employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees if it violates public policy, meaning there are certain reasons that if an employer discriminates against you then it is illegal, such as reasons of race, age, gender, etc...The state statute covering employment are the New Jersey Laws Against Discrimination (NJLAD).
There are many issues you will need to discuss with an attorney at a consultation: What is my disciplinary history? How does the employee manual address termination of workers? What do I want, my job back or something else? Who else works with you and how are the they treated? Is there a pattern of discrimination against certain kinds of employees?
I am providing a link that gives an overview of employment in the workplace. Be sure to act quickly, as you have a limited amount of time to address this issue. Best of luck in your case.
Here is the link: http://www.state.nj.us/lps/dcr/law.html
Based on the facts you have shared, it is unlikely you would have a successful claim. In New Jersey, employers can terminate you for any reason, or no reason at all. However, what is illegal is base the termination on some discriminatory animus such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
There is also a very strong whistleblowing statute in NJ known as CEPA. If you voiced your objection to conduct you believe was illegal, immoral or objectionable and they took adverse action against you, then you are protected. This is, of course, a very basic definition - and a lot more goes into the analysis.
If any of these situations apply to you, I suggest strongly that you meet with an employment lawyer as soon as is reasonably possible.
I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.
Even though your employer did not follow the termination procedure you described, I bet there is some other policy that allows the employer to skip the progress and go straight to termination.
The harsh reality is employees and job applicants have very few employment rights, and employers have a lot of leeway in how they choose to run their businesses. In general, an employer can be unfair, obnoxious or bad at management. And an employer can make decisions based on faulty or inaccurate information. An employer has no obligation to warn an employee that he or she is not performing as the employer wants. It’s not a level playing field. An employer hires employees to provide work for its benefit, not for the benefit of the employees. Don't expect the employer to take care of its employees; it doesn’t have to and it rarely does.
There are some limitations on what an employer can do, mostly in the areas of public policy (such as discrimination law or whistle blowing), contract law, union-employer labor relations, and constitutional due process for government employees. Or perhaps your company has a policy that allows and employee to appeal or challenge a discharge?
Please see my guide to at-will employment which should help you understand employment rights: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/an-overvie.... After you take a look at the guide, you may be able to identify actions or behavior that fits one of the categories that allows for legal action. If so, an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney may be helpful.
Now, with a better understanding of your legal rights -- which are very slim -- you may want to consider a strategic solution rather than a legal solution. First, if you have not (yet) been fired, it is important to do what you can to prevent termination because that is far easier than convincing an employer to reverse an action it has already taken.
Understand your boss or someone else at the company may be scared of any consequences from what happened, may have misunderstood what took place, may be friends with or related to others involved, or could just be a bully who is picking on you because its easy or your boss thinks its easy. Maybe company policy is to fire everyone who might be trouble. Or maybe your boss feels there is something unsatisfactory about your performance but never told you about it.
Sometimes it's helpful to tackle this kind of thing directly, but only if you can be professional and respectful in doing so. You might ask to speak with your boss in private, and if your boss agrees, ask if you have done something that has made the company think you are a poor worker, and if not, ask why you were not given the same chances that other employees received.
Maybe something took place that your boss misinterpreted, though probably not. But if so, you can explain your side. More likely your boss will not tell you what is really bugging him or her -- if there is anything -- but a mature conversation may cause your boss to change the way he or she acts toward you and maybe even result a change in the decision.
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