Wrongful Termination: Do I Need to Hire a New Jersey Lawyer?

Do you believe you were illegally fired or laid off from your job? If so, you might be wondering whether you need to hire a lawyer. Legally speaking, you are free to represent yourself throughout any stage of your wrongful termination case. However, there are several reasons why it’s often in your best interest to hire a wrongful termination lawyer.

Do I Have a Wrongful Termination Case?

One of the first reasons to consult with a lawyer is to figure out if you even have a wrongful termination case to pursue. Just because your termination was unfair doesn’t mean that it was illegal. For example, it’s unfair for your boss to fire you to make room for a relative or college friend. However, workplace nepotism or favoritism isn’t illegal. To have a claim, your employer must have violated an employment contract or a specific federal, state, or local law.

Examples of illegal reasons for firing include:

  • Discrimination based on a protected characteristic
  • Refusal to provide reasonable accommodation for a disability
  • Refusal to provide legally-protected time off work
  • Retaliation for exercising a legal right,
  • Retaliation for reporting illegal activity by the company (whistleblowing).

Several other types of firing are illegal. However, the laws vary greatly from state to state, and even from city to city. An employment lawyer can quickly assess your situation and determine if you have a wrongful termination case.

Without any legal expertise, it’s difficult to know how much your case is worth and whether a settlement offer is a fair one.

Can I Handle My Case on My Own?

Legally speaking, you are free to handle your wrongful termination case on your own. However, practically speaking, most employees won’t get very far—or won’t get very much in compensation—without a lawyer’s help.

In a couple of situations, it can make sense to forgo hiring a lawyer. One example is if the illegal firing didn’t cause you much damage, financial or otherwise. For example, suppose the firing wasn’t particularly traumatic and you landed a new, better paying job within a couple of weeks. In this situation, you might just want to negotiate a fair severance package with your employer and move on.

Another example is where there is an established government agency that investigates complaints. For example, if you were fired due to your race, you would file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC would investigate your complaint and could help you and your employer reach a resolution. However, even in these types of administrative proceedings, a lawyer can be essential to getting you the compensation you deserve, especially if the firing has caused you significant damage.

What Can A New Jersey Wrongful Termination Lawyer Do for Me?

One of the biggest benefits of hiring an employment lawyer is that it will help you understand the value of your claim. Without any legal expertise, it’s difficult to know how much your case is worth and whether a settlement offer is a fair one.

A lawyer can help you by evaluating the strength of the evidence in your case—for example, is there enough proof to show that your employer broke the law? If not, the lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need. A lawyer has legal tools at his or her disposal to obtain records, question witnesses, and more. If it turns out the evidence is lacking, the lawyer can explain how that affects the value of your case.

A lawyer can also determine what kind of compensation you’re likely to recover and how much. Some losses are limited or not compensated in certain types of wrongful termination cases, for example. And, a lawyer will know about additional penalties, interest, or other sums that you can recover. Your lawyer will calculate all of these sums and set reasonable expectations for what kind of settlement you should consider.

The mere fact of having a lawyer will also get your employer to take your claim more seriously. Lawyers only take cases that they think they can win. It’s not uncommon for employers to start negotiating once a lawyer gets involved. For all of these reasons, employees often fare better in their wrongful termination cases with a lawyer, even after taking attorneys’ fees into account.

Next Steps

If you’re interested in hiring an employment lawyer, you should do your research by checking out the areas we cover below

Sue Your Employer For Wrongful Termination

The Employment Tribunal

When you lose your job, regardless of whether you were fired or laid off, it's always hard to understand your employer's reason behind it. After doing some soul searching what if you realize you were let go for an unlawful reason? If this is the case of you, then you have the right to bring a wrongful termination claim against your former employer. What does this mean? You can get money damages, severance packages and other compensation. Follow this guide from a civil rights attorney to see if you lost your job due to a wrongful termination and what you can do about it.What is the definition of "Wrongful Termination?"If you have been let go or fired from your job for an illegal reason then you have been wrongfully terminated. Some of the illegal reasons for losing your job may include: Firing you based on your race, gender, sexual orientation and other discriminatory reasons.Firing you because you refused sexual advances and other sexual harassment reasons.Firing you despite previous oral and written employment agreements.Firing in retaliation for any complaints you have made against the employer.If any of these apply to you, then you might be entitled to a money payment based on your lost wages and other expenses you accrued from being terminated. Also depending on the case, you might be entitled to get payments from your employer and also from the person who fired you.What To Do If You've Been FiredIgnore any ill feelings you have towards your employer. Don't do something that you might regret and hinder your case.Contact a civil rights attorney for advice and representation.Find your contract and go over it thoroughly. Make sure you understand all the fine print.Get a letter in writing from your employer about why you were terminated. And ask who was the person that decided that you were to be fired.Think of any promises the employer made to you and see if they followed through on any of them.Make sure you return any company property.Do not allow yourself to be intimidated. A good civil rights attorney will be there for you every step of the way helping you build you case.Request A Severance Package Technically, an employer doesn't have to give a fired or laid off employee a severance package if their contract does not stipulate it. However, if the employee feels they have been wrongfully terminated, they can negotiate a severance package with the company in exchange for not filing charges against the employer.An employment attorney can explain your options and help your decide whether negotiation a severance package or a wrongful termination claim will make more sense in your situation.If you feel that have been fired for an illegal reason, you may have rights to severance pay, damages, or unemployment compensation. Speaking with an experience civil rights attorney can help you understand your rights and make an informed decision about how to proceed.

The Qualities Found in a Federal Employee Lawyer

Legal Advice Regarding Employment Wrongful termination, also known as wrongful dismissal, describes a situation where you believe that you have been dismissed from your job without due cause, or against the terms of your contract. Technically, a lawyer will take on your case if the dismissal breaches the conditions specified in your contract of employment, or breaches employment law. A formal written contact of employment is not always necessary as a precondition for disputing a termination.What are the circumstances of wrongful termination that lawyers would want to see? Examples would be dismissal based on your age, sex, or race, dismissal based on a false accusation of theft or similar, or dismissal without having gone through a due warning process as specified in a contract, usually involving a series of verbal or written warnings. You cannot be dismissed either for refusing to do something illegal, for whistleblowing on your employer, or for taking family or medical leave. Your goal in disputing your employment termination will be either to receive your job back, or to be awarded compensation of some sort. A lawyer will often be needed, due to the complexity of employment law and because of the tight timeframe within which documents often have to be presented.So where can you find wrongful termination lawyers? Ideally you will want to engage a lawyer who specializes in wrongful termination, and will have experience in successfully settling such cases.Thankfully, the web allows you to find such lawyers easily. Here are some of the best resources.LegalMatch is a service which helps to match clients with a lawyer with particular expertise; it is also worth reading their information about wrongful termination and constructive discharge.The National Employment Lawyers Association is a group of lawyers who can represent employees in cases of employment discrimination and wrongful termination. Check their 'Find a Lawyer' facility for a lawyer in your state.Another way to get information about the top wrongful termination lawyers is to look at online forums and blogs where people who have been terminated from their job and who are in a similar situation to you will post their experiences. For example, in the Yahoo Answers site dozens of questions about wrongful dismissal and wrongful termination cases are answered, both in the Employment section and in the Law and Ethics section. Questions answered include things like 'I've been wrongfully dismissed - what are my rights?', and 'What does a plaintiff have to prove to be successful in a wrongful dismissal action?' For further background on your legal options after being fired, see 'Seeking Relief for Wrongful Termination' at About.com, which recommends you find a lawyer who will not take fees up front, but who makes fees contingent on actually winning your employment case.Good Luck!

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