At-Will Employment in Cherry HillRequest a Free Consultation
At-will employment means that an employee has no guaranteed protection in his or her job, and both the employer and the employee can end the employment relationship for any reason other than unlawful discrimination or retaliation. Most workers in Cherry Hill are at-will employees, unless they have a written employment contract that is for a specific duration or period of time.
The exceptions to at-will employment include when an employee has a specific contractual term for his or her employment as well as individuals such as teachers, for example, who are members of a union and have certain protections in that regard as well.
Signing Employment Agreements
Most employers have an employee handbook or manual that sets forth their policies and procedures. That handbook will typically indicate whether they want the worker to acknowledge that they have read and understand the policies and procedures, that the handbook does not create an employment contract, and that they are still an at-will employee even though they are signing what appears to be a contract to abide by the employer’s policies and procedures.
A worker should consult with a Cherry Hill attorney if they have any concerns about signing the employer handbook or any agreement that indicates that they are an at-will employee. Typically, though, signing a handbook is something that an employer can require their employees to do, thereby allowing them to confirm adherence to the policies and procedures they have set forth.
Rights Granted by At-Will Employment
All employees, including at-will employees have the right to be in workplaces free from discrimination and retaliation. The state laws that protect against discrimination and retaliation (i.e., the Law Against Discrimination and Conscientious Employee Protection Act) provide those protections apply to any local employee regardless of whether they’re at-will or contractual.
What Does it Mean to be Discharged for Cause?
A termination or discharge for cause will depend upon the specific expectations of the employer. In an employee handbook, a worker will typically see the employer’s guidelines for workplace performance and expectations of workplace conduct and behavior. A termination for cause usually means the worker has either intentionally or negligently disregarded the employer’s policies and procedures to such an extent that the employer feels they have no option but to them.
What is a Probationary Period?
A probationary period is when a newly-hired employee is in an initial “test run” phase. For most employers, this is a 60- or 90-day period where the worker is not guaranteed to hold the position at the end of that timeframe unless they meet certain performance expectations.
The employer still has to abide by anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws during that time. Specifically, if they decide they want to terminate someone during their probationary period, it cannot be for any discriminatory or retaliatory reason. Otherwise, that termination would still be unlawful even though the employee is in their probationary period.
Learn More about At-Will Employment in Cherry Hill from an Attorney
An experienced attorney could evaluate the reason given for an at-will employee’s termination and whether that reason is legitimate or a pretext for some underlying discriminatory or retaliatory action. Our legal team could help determine whether you have a claim for discrimination or retaliation under New Jersey law based on the terms of your at-will employment in Cherry Hill. Call today to learn more.