If you or your loved one was fired from a New Jersey job for bringing forward complaints about illegal behavior, you might have a valid claim for wrongful termination for retaliation or whistleblowing. Both federal laws and New Jersey state laws offer basic workplace protection and prevent employers from laying off their workers who exercise their rights in accordance with these laws.
In some instances, employees are also protected from being fired because of whistleblowing. That means your employer shouldn’t be fired just because they reported that their employer had violated some laws unrelated to employees’ rights if you believe that you were fired for whistleblowing or even retaliation, here essential steps you should take.
First things first: consult with an experienced attorney
The Sattiraju Law Firm, one of the most reputable law agencies in New Jersey, emphasizes that a number of federal and state laws protect workers who complain about misconduct in organizations. Thus, a good attorney can help you figure out your legal options. He or she will analyze the details of your case and help you determine the best way to assert your rights.
Prior to meeting your attorney, consider putting together a detailed timeline of events underlying your report or complaint. Indicate when you tried to exercise your tights or when you complained, the people you spoke to, and exactly what happened as a result. To prove that you were fired due to retaliation or whistleblowing, you must prove the correlation between your employment termination and your complaints.
Timing is important
Note that the less time between your attempt to exercise your rights or complaint and your employer’s action (firing you), the stronger your lawsuit is likely to be. Remember, you should also prove that the individual who fired you or made the decision to lay off was aware of your report or complaint.
File a government charge
For some retaliation claims, you may be required to file your complaints with a government agency prior to going to court. For instance, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit alleging retaliation for discrimination or complaining of harassment under the federal law until you get an opportunity to file charges of discrimination with the EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity).
If you decide to sue for wrongful termination in violation of whistleblower protections offered by Sarbanes-Oxley, you should file your case with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Remember, these procedures and options might be confusing. However, retaining experienced legal counsel could help you make the right choices.
If you have a valid retaliation or whistleblowing claim, you may be entitled to compensation. Note that the damages depend on the federal or state law underlying your claim and the strength of your claim. In most wrongful termination lawsuits, the employee may be entitled to back pays, reinstatement or front pay, all expenses the employer had out of pocket as a result of losing his or her job, and court and law fees.