You learn on the playground in grade school to treat others with the kindness you’d like to receive. Yet, discrimination still exists and could be the reason your last employer let you go.
Wrongful termination means your employer disobeyed the law to knock you off their payroll. In many cases, unlawful firing is rooted in discrimination. But before running to the courtroom, you should run through checklist to see if your situation was illegal, rather than unfair.
It’s important to note that employment in New Jersey, like most states, is at-will. This means you can face termination at any point of your employment, without reason. But, if your gut is telling you there was a reason — or more specifically an unjust reason — your boss fired you, then they might have disregarded both state and federal law.
These are some steps you should take to determine whether you have enough evidence to build a wrongful termination case:
Discrimination: Before your last job experience came to end, did you notice the new hires always seemed to identify as the same gender? This could allude to a pattern of discrimination. In preparation for a wrongful termination case, you should ask yourself if any higher-ups may have taken it upon themselves to act prejudice toward you just for being yourself. Besides federal protection via Title VII, the Law Against Discrimination (LAD) in New Jersey, bans employers from discriminating their employees based on:
- National origin
- Gender identity or expression
- Sexual orientation
- Mental or physical disability
- Marital or familial status
- Genetic information
- Liability for military service
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
Harassment: If you can recall consistent taunting from a manager or supervisor about your race, gender or any identifiers protected by LAD, reporting it can help you seek justice. Reporting workplace harassment can not only aid in a wrongful termination case, but also protect your general safety. Chances are if someone wasn’t afraid to be cruel to you in a professional setting, they wouldn’t hesitate to harm you again outside of work.
Paper trail: : Discriminatory comments or insults that are verbal could be difficult to show proof of in court. You have your own word, but gathering any digital correspondences, job contracts or training documents outlining company policies could all be useful for an attorney or judge. Even if you no longer have access to your company email, dig through any personal emails or text messages you might have forgotten about between all former co-workers.
Having to relive the emotional distress of unfair treatment is often painful. But listing patterns in managerial behavior and collecting any relevant documents is crucial when fighting for your rights.
Losing your job can make you feel isolated in more than one way but deciding your next steps in life doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. If you feel like your boss fired you on unlawful terms, then speaking with a wrongful termination attorney could help set you up for career success for many years to come.