Can I sue my employer for wrongful termination?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I sue my employer for wrongful termination?

my company sent out a memo that they would be closing their offices in north
america a few weeks ago and that i would be entitled to severance if i remained
with the company until closing 11/30/2017. My manager terminated me through text
for what he stated as ‘no longer needing my services’. when HR contacted me they
said he stated i had been terminated for insubordination. I no longer have a job
and this has taken a toll on my life financially as i am still available for
work. Hr has agreed to give me 4 weeks of severance pay but i am unsure if i can
sue since i was wrongfully terminated and also loosing out on an additional month
and a half of work income. they have also sent me an agreement which i find to be
very confusing.

Asked on October 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) Unless one of the following occured, you were not wrongfully terminated, because the default or normal rule in this nation is that all employment is employment at will: i.e. you can be terminated at any time for any reason, even factually incorrect ones. The only time it's not legal to terminate you are--
a) You had a written employment contract which was violated by the termination.
b) You were fired due to your age over 40, race, color, national origin, disability, religion, or sex, or in your state also due to marital status, ancestry, genetics, or sexual orientation.
Otherwise, there is essentially no such thing as "wrongful termination": all termination is allowed, except as above.
2) There is no obligation to pay severance in the law, and employers may freely decide who to pay severance to, and who to NOT pay it to.
Based on what you write, while you were treated unfairly, you were most likely treated legally and would not have a viable legal claim.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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