If your employer fires you illegally -- for example, if he fires you because of your race or religion, both of which are protected classes in New Jersey as of 2011 -- you may be entitled to sue him for wrongful termination. New Jersey courts can compel employers to reinstate employees and levy fines against them if they break labor or employment laws. You have a limited amount of time after being fired to file a wrongful termination lawsuit, however, so contact an employment rights attorney immediately if you believe you were wrongfully terminated from your job.
As of May 2011, New Jersey has a statute of limitations of two years on most wrongful termination suits. Thus, if you feel your job termination is unfair, you have two years to pursue legal action against your former employer. However, if you were fired in retaliation for reporting the company for noncompliance with federal or state laws, you only have one year from the date of firing to sue for wrongful termination under New Jersey's whistle-blower law.
Contact Attorney Immediately
If you are considering legal action against your former employer, contact an attorney who is familiar with employment law as soon as possible after your job termination. If you wait too long, you risk the statute of limitations running out before your attorney can prepare and file his case. In addition, your attorney can advise you as to your best options for moving forward with your case after your termination.
You may handle a wrongful termination suit by filing a complaint with New Jersey's Department of Labor rather than via the court system. The Department of Labor must investigate your complaint and can take legal action against your former employer if it determines you were wrongfully terminated. The statute of limitations for filing a complaint with the Department of Labor is the same as filing a lawsuit through the civil courts.
New Jersey is an at-will employment state. Unless you sign an employment contract stating that your employment lasts for a certain length of time, your employer has the right to terminate you for any reason whatsoever as long as the reason is not barred by federal or state law. Thus, it may be difficult to win a wrongful termination lawsuit unless you can prove that the employer acted illegally.