Lawrence N. Lavigne, Esq., L.L.C.
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What to know about at-will employment

In most cases, employees in New Jersey and elsewhere are considered "at-will" employees. This means that an employee can be terminated for almost any reason. Assuming that there were no state or federal employment laws broken when a person was terminated, the employee has little recourse but to accept the employer's decision. However, employment may not be at-will if employers make agreements with employees stating that the can only be fired for a good cause.

Those who are curious about their employment status may find out more by reading their employment contract. This document generally states when employment begins, what a worker's salary is and if he or she is entitled to benefits. It may also include a confidentiality agreement as well as define the terms under which a person can be terminated. In some cases, employers may create oral as opposed to written agreements.

While employees are not legally required to sign an at-will employment contract, employers can terminate workers for failing to do so. However, quality employers generally won't force a person to do so as it could strain the relationship between the worker and company. In most cases, employers strive to work with employees as opposed to just letting them go without a chance to correct their mistakes.

If a company violates employment law, an employee may have grounds to take legal action against it. Violations of employment law may occur if a person is terminated because of gender, race or other protected attributes. It may also be a violation of employment law for a worker to be terminated for less than a good cause if a worker was not an at-will employee. If successful, workers may be entitled to back pay or reinstatement to their previous positions.

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