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    FAQ

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    1. What does “at-will” employment mean?

    Most employees in New Jersey are employed “at-will.” Employment at-will generally means that either you or your employer may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, with or without cause. However, there are exceptions to the at-will doctrine. The two most common exceptions are state and federal laws which prohibit discrimination and/or retaliation, such as:

    The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), which prohibits an employer from terminating your employment or taking other adverse action (e.g., suspension, demotion, pay cut, etc.) on the basis of your race, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, military service and other grounds.

    The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), which prohibits an employer from taking retaliatory action (e.g., termination, suspicion, demotion, etc.) against an employee who discloses, objects to, or refuses to participate in conduct that they reasonably believe to be illegal, fraudulent or in violation of public policy or which affects public safety or patient care.

    If you believe that your employer has given you a false explanation for your termination, you should contact us as soon as possible. If your employer has invented a false or dishonest reason for your termination, it may have done so in order to cover-up wrongful motives, such as unlawful discrimination or retaliation. Some of the most common employer excuses we encounter in wrongful termination cases are:

    Minor violations of attendance, tardiness, code or conduct or other company policies that were not enforced until the employee made a complaint about discrimination, harassment or illegal activities.

    Performance improvement plans (PIP), which are often a sham deigned to build a paper trail to justify an unlawful termination. PIPs frequently involve nitpicking criticisms that have never before been identified as performance deficiencies.

    A reduction-in-force, where the employer claims that an economic downturn has forced it to lay off employees. These claims are often suspect, particularly when the “layoff” only impacts one or a few employees or older employees are more affected than younger.

    In some cases, the employer wants to get rid of an employee, usually for some prohibited reasons, but is afraid to go forward with the termination. The employer will try to make the work environment so miserable, often times by reducing an employee’s duties and responsibilities, that the employee has no choice but to quit and seek new employment. In these cases, an employee can sometimes make out a claim for a “constructive discharge” if the workplace was so intolerable that anyone in the employee’s position would feel compelled to resign.

    3. What should I do if I believe my employer is defrauding the federal or state government?

    Call us. If your employer is committing fraud on the federal or state government, you may be entitled to substantial damages as a “relator”, a person who complains about such behavior on behalf of the government.

    4. What should I do if I believe my employer is engaged in illegal, fraudulent or unethical behavior or has acted in a way that is injurious to the public health?

    Call us. You may be entitled to protection as a whistleblower if you have complained about, or refused to participate in, conduct which you reasonably believe is illegal, fraudulent, unethical or injurious to the public health.

    5. What should I do if I am fired?

    Do not admit to anything. Do not sign anything. Do not attempt to negotiate with the Company. CAUTION: Do not take any of the company’s documents or download any of the company’s computer files. Call us.

    6. When should I call you?

    As soon as possible after you believe your employment rights have been violated or are in jeopardy of being violated. The earlier you call us, the sooner we become involved in trying to solve your problem. We want to be sure that you respond correctly and do enter into written agreements or releases that have the effect of giving up your rights. In addition, there are time limits under the law called statutes of limitation, which may affect your right to bring a claim if you wait too long.

    7. Does the firm take contingency cases?

    We evaluate each case in its own merits. In appropriate situations we do take cases on a contingent basis.

    8. Can you give me advice over the telephone or by e-mail?

    No. we must meet with you to review whatever documentation you may have before we can give you any advice. To our knowledge, no reputable law firm would give advice over the telephone or by e-mail to individuals it does not already represent as clients.

    9. How long does an initial consultation last?

    As long as we need to meet with you to properly evaluate the situation. Often, more than one of our attorneys will participate in the consultation to ensure a thorough review of the situation.

    10. What should I bring to the consultation?

    You should bring any documents that are lawfully in your possession and which you received in the normal course of your employment. Do not take any of the company’s documents or download any of the company’s computer files. Call us if you have any questions or concerns about documents in your possession.