I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. The following is information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. However, you should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.
It's not illegal to decide to fire someone and not tell him or her. It's not illegal to advertise for a new employee while the old employee is still working. It isn't illegal to lie to employees, either. And it's not illegal to be unfair or to be a royal jerk.
However, if your employer is lying to you (by not revealing you will be fired) AND you reasonably relied on the lie AND you are harmed by that lie, such as you bypassed a great job opportunity because you though you had your current job, there may be a claim for promissory estoppel or detrimental reliance. However, it is usually very difficult to prove that the cause of your harm was the lie. Also, now that you know about it, it would be unreasonable for you to rely on that lie any longer.
Sometimes an employer lies to an employee about the real reason it is taking an action. Sometimes that lie is a coverup for unlawful behavior, such as firing a person because of the person's race, age (40 and over), sex, disability, etc. If you suspect anything like this is going on, you may wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney in your state. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in your area, please go to the web site of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.nela.org, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.
Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and in many cities. On the NELA web site, you can look at the list of affiliates. Some attorneys will be listed in the affiliate membership list, some in the national organization membership list, and some in both. Being listed in one or both lists should not influence your selection because attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase the listing in the national directory. Each local affiliate has its own rules for listing.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
I see nothing illegal in the employer's acts.
Herbert Tan, Esq.
The National Newark Building
744 Broad Street, 16th Fl.
Newark, New Jersey 07102
(973) 735-2681 (W)
(973) 735-2682 (F)
305 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, New York 10007
I agree with the above NJ-licensed attorney; though I'm not a NJ attorney myself, my general experience is that unless there is a specific statute that makes the employer's conduct illegal, they can do it.
Picture for example the converse. If you could sue him for posting your job before you get terminated, would you want them to be able to sue you for applying to another job before quitting?