Employment Law Attorney in Somerville, New Jersey
Employment Law Attorney in Somerville, New Jersey Like every other U.S. state other than Montana, New Jersey is an employment-at-will state. This means that, by default, employees have no guarantee that they will remain employed and no obligation to continue their employment. In most cases, private employers in New Jersey may terminate workers for any legal reason, with or without cause or warning. Employees can leave their jobs for any reason, with or without notice, without incurring any penalty.
Although they do not have a general right to employment, workers have many rights under federal and New Jersey State laws. An employer may not fire, lay off, or retaliate against an employee for an illegal reason, must pay each worker the wages and benefits they have earned, and must adhere to the terms of any employment contracts they are a party to.
Somerville Wrongful Termination Attorney
Employers may fire at-will employees for any legal reason. However, many reasons are illegal under state or federal law. Federal nondiscrimination laws and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibit terminating an employee based on their protected characteristics, including race, religion, national origin, marital status, age, disability, pregnancy, gender, perceived or actual sexual orientation, military status, and veteran status.
Terminating an employee based on these characteristics is unlawful even if an employee’s status is “at will.” An employer also may not terminate an employee in retaliation for blowing the whistle on its failure to comply with the prevailing wage requirements or other wage and hour violations. If you have been wrongfully terminated, you may be entitled to compensation.
Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Lawyer in Somerville, NJ
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) protects employees and potential employees from discrimination in the workplace, including discrimination based on race, gender, age, pregnancy, religion, sexual orientation, and disability.
Somerville Race Discrimination Lawyer
Under federal and state law, an employer cannot discriminate against a current or potential employee based on their race or perceived race, nationality, skin color, or ethnicity. This prohibition includes a wide range of intentionally discriminatory actions as well as systemic issues that effectively discriminate against members of a certain race or minority group. For example, ostensibly neutral provisions in a dress code requiring employees to be clean-shaven or banning “unusual” hairstyles may effectively discriminate against Black employees. Even if these provisions are not intentionally discriminatory, employees who have suffered adverse employment actions (like failure to hire, failure to promote, or disciplinary action, among others) may be able to recover compensation for their losses.
Somerville Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Somerville employers have a legal duty to ensure their employees are safe in the workplace, including taking reasonable measures to prevent and respond to sexual harassment. Employees may be able to recover compensation from an employer that fails to take action against a harassing manager or supervisor, fails to take appropriate measures to protect employees from harassing coworkers or clients, or otherwise neglects its duties under the law. If you have experienced harassment in the workplace, you need a skilled attorney.
Somerville Age Discrimination Lawyer
It’s illegal for a Somerville employer to discriminate against any current or potential employee because of age. The Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) made age a protected characteristic. Any employer covered by this federal statute may not discriminate against someone over the age of 40 because of their age in hiring, promotions, wages, termination, layoff, or other adverse employment action. Employers may not post preferences or limitations in job notices or advertisements, deny benefits to older employees, or require that an employee retire once they reach a certain age (in most cases). It is also illegal under the ADEA to retaliate against a worker for reporting or testifying about age discrimination (against themselves or another individual).
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) provides many of the same protections, but it applies to all individuals at least 18 years old and under 70. (Employers who are subject to the ADEA must follow the federal law’s more restrictive prohibitions on discrimination against older employees.)
It is also unlawful for anyone to harass an employee because of their age. The law forbids harassment by supervisors, coworkers, clients, and others. Harassment becomes illegal if it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it leads to an adverse employment action (like termination or demotion). If the harassment is intentional, extreme, and outrageous, it may constitute intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Somerville Disability Discrimination Lawyer
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the NJLAD protect employees from discrimination based on an actual or perceived disability. An employer may not consider an individual’s disability status in making decisions about their employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, retirement, benefits, promotion, layoff, scheduling, or other work-related issues, unless the disability would render them unable to perform the essential functions of their job. If an employee ends their employment because of their disability, it will not disqualify them from receiving New Jersey unemployment benefits.
A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. It may be a permanent or temporary condition. Some cognitive impairments and psychological conditions like stress and depression may qualify if they result from a documented physiological or mental disorder. Many pregnancy-related conditions (including gestational diabetes and some complications related to childbirth) may qualify as temporary disabilities protected by the ADA.
If an employee can perform the essential functions of their job, the law requires that an employer provide them with reasonable accommodation for their disability. An employer must offer a good-faith accommodation that would fulfill the worker’s stated needs. If it is not possible to accommodate an employee’s disability without creating an unreasonable hardship for the employer or the other employees, the employer may not have to make accommodations.
Somerville Gender Discrimination Lawyer
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the NJLAD prohibit discrimination based on gender in all aspects of employment, including hiring, training, compensation, job assignments, promotions, benefits (such as leave and health insurance), termination, and any other term or condition of employment. The law also requires equal pay for substantially equal work.
The law also prohibits taking any adverse action against an employee for reasons related to the worker’s gender or gender expression. This can include systemic violations in a company’s culture, such as assigning women to customer-forward, lower-paying positions and men to more physically demanding, better-paying jobs.
Somerville Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
Discrimination during pregnancy is illegal under federal laws such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as discussed above. New Jersey laws, including the NJLAD, offer even more protection to women before, during, and after pregnancy.
It is generally unlawful for anyone in the workplace—including a woman’s supervisor, coworkers, or clients—to harass a woman because of her pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Harassment is illegal if it is frequent or severe enough to create a hostile or offensive work environment or if it results in an adverse employment action (like termination, discipline, or demotion). If the harassing conduct is intentional, extreme, and outrageous, a worker may be able to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Somerville Religious Discrimination Lawyer
State and federal laws protect employees from discrimination based on their religion or lack thereof. This protection also includes discrimination based on others’ perception that you are part of a religious group (even if you are not) and discrimination against individuals for not being part of the dominant religious group. Depending on the specific circumstances, there are some limits to this protection; for example, the law would most likely allow a church to require that a person who fills a paid position as a spiritual leader be a member of that faith. However, there is a lot of ambiguity and current debate regarding how much freedom non-religious organizations have to exercise their “religious freedom” before it becomes illegal discrimination. If you feel you have been discriminated against in the workplace based on religion, you should speak with an experienced attorney.
Somerville Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer
Federal and state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against potential or current employees based on their sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, or gender identity. A recent Supreme Court decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, made clear that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act protects individuals from discrimination in the workplace based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is also unlawful for anyone, including a worker’s supervisors, coworkers, or clients, to harass an employee based on their gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender expression. An employer who fails to protect its workers from harassment based on sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation may be liable for its failure to provide a safe work environment.
Somerville Whistleblower Protection Attorney
Somerville workers are covered by one of the country’s most comprehensive, protective state whistleblower laws. The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) encourages workers to report conduct by an employer or coworker that is fraudulent or otherwise illegal that may otherwise go unnoticed or unreported for many years. It protects employees who 1) have reason to believe that an activity, policy, or practice is a violation of regulation or law and 2) disclose or threaten to disclose that action to authorities. It also protects employees from being forced to participate in an activity that they believe to be unlawful or against public policy.
CEPA prohibits all retaliatory acts, including subtle forms of retaliation like transferring a whistleblowing employee to less-desirable shifts or passing them over for promotion. If you have been retaliated against for whistleblowing, or if you believe you may be in a position to report wrongdoing, you should consult with an attorney.
Prevailing Wage Attorney in Somerville
Many workers in New Jersey are protected by the state’s prevailing wage laws. These rules set pay scales for government contractors and subcontractors on public works projects. The New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act (PWA) protects the rights of employees on government-funded projects, determine minimum rates of pay to laborers, artisans, and apprentices employed on applicable projects, and require certification of compliance from contractors awarded projects.
In New Jersey, the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development sets the rates for each professional specialty. They are based on the collective bargaining agreements established for each particular craft or trade in the locality in which the work is performed. Rates vary by the location of the job (each New Jersey county has a different rate), by the type of work performed, and by the experience level of the worker. Prevailing wage rates change frequently based on legislative initiative or renegotiations in union contracts. The tables reflecting the current prevailing wages for each occupation and location are updated and published regularly.
If you are a worker protected by the PWA and you believe you’re not being paid what you are entitled to, you should consult with an experienced New Jersey wage and hour attorney. You may be able to recover compensation as well as help to stop ongoing violations against other workers.
Unpaid Wage Attorney in Somerville
Most New Jersey employees are protected by federal wage laws, state wage laws, or both. Nonetheless, wage theft remains a multi-million dollar problem. Employers can violate state or federal wage and hour laws in many different ways: failing to pay employees the minimum wage or overtime, not paying workers appropriately under the New Jersey PWA, forcing workers to perform work “off the clock” or “under the table,” etc.
Although employees can file a wage claim with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division or a complaint with the New Jersey Department of Labor for unpaid wages, it is sometimes better to pursue a lawsuit. If you have a very large claim for unpaid wages, a lawsuit may be the only way for you to fully recover; in New Jersey, you can file a wage claim with the DOL for only $30,000 or less. An attorney can help you decide which legal or administrative remedy is best for your situation.
Employment Contracts Attorney in Somerville
Workers in New Jersey may negotiate private contracts with employers that specify the compensation and duration of their employment, how their employment can be terminated, and other terms. Employment contracts can include penalties for early termination by one or both parties, severance pay, and other enforceable benefits and restrictions. If either party breaches the contract, the other may file a lawsuit to recover damages.
Many Somerville workers are part of a labor union organized under the National Labor Relations Act. Unions typically enter into collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that negotiate pay, scheduling, seniority, and other terms of employment for their members. In most cases, union employees cannot be terminated without just cause, and an employer must properly engage in the discipline and termination procedure set out by the CBA. If a union worker is terminated in violation of the terms of their CBA , they may have grounds to file a union grievance or lawsuit.
In certain circumstances, explaining certain kinds of disciplinary programs in an employee handbook may imply a promise not to terminate an employee without taking those steps. If an employer terminates an employee without following those procedures, the employee may be able to bring a lawsuit for breach of contract or wrongful termination.
Consult a Somerville employment law attorney near you today.
If you’re an employee in New Jersey, you have rights under federal and state law. This includes the right to employment without facing harassment, retaliation, or discrimination based on your age, gender, race, or national origin. If you feel that you have been the victim of workplace misconduct or are an employer looking for defense against unfair claims, our expert team is prepared to help.