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Reason for Termination


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#1 royalmagenta

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:41 AM

Hi,

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I am writing on behalf of my daughter.  My daughter had a job and was terminated early this year.  Her former employer has not given her a reason either verbally or in writing as to the reason for termination. 

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We live in NJ. 

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So is there a law either Federal or State of NJ that the employer does not have to give a reason for termination. 

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It is frustration because when my daughter goes on interviews, and is asked why she was terminated, she doesn't know what to say, except that my boss didn't give me a reason.

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To find out why she was terminated, I contacted the corporate office and they forwarded my inquiry to the firing supervisor.  He is refusing to put the reason for termination in writing.

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Purely speculation here . .  My daughter has disabilities and they may have interfered with her responsibilities that led to her termination.  I, also, write this because her former boss just weeks before told her that she was doing a good job; yet at the same refused to move forward with the required training (as per the employee handbook) and when asked for additional hours, he refused to give them to her.  Yet, he hired 6 new employees within a 2 to 3 weeks span (just before she was terminated).  Also note that my daughter was never written up or suspended.  There were a couple of verbal warnings; but the issues were corrected immediately.

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I don't want this situation to become "he said, she said".  Particularly if my speculation is correct. 

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Okay, I know I am going on tangents, but my daughter and I are trying to understand what happened.

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By the way, is there a Federal or State of NJ law that complies an employer to put the reason for termination in writing?

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I am, also, looking into FOIA.  The plan is to send it to DOL because my daughter did file an unemployment claim. So they should have the reason on file.  But to obtain this information, she would have to submit a FOIA. Correct?

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Ok.  Any guidance would be helpful.  Thank you.



#2 Fallen

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:49 AM

"So is there a law either Federal or State of NJ that the employer does not have to give a reason for termination."

There's no law requiring them to give a reason at all.  When your daughter was let go, I'd like to think she filed for unemployment benefits; if the employer contests the state awarding them, it will provide some notion about why she was let go.  Your daughter doesn't need to file a FOIA request to seek info on her own unemployment claim from the state, if they have any (if the employer didn't contest benefits, they won't).

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"... I contacted the corporate office ...."

This is a TERRIBLE idea; your kid is presumably an adult, and you need to stay out of it except to provide her with guidance she may request.  Even if she asked you to call them, you shouldn't have agreed to do so.  :)

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If your daughter has disabilities and had any reason to believe they'd "[interfere] with her responsibilities," then I presume she discussed that with the employer.  If there weren't reasonable accommodations to be had (like a special chair), it is what it is; the employer's not obligated to lower expectations as it relates to the job.

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"By the way, is there a Federal or State of NJ law that complies an employer to put the reason for termination in writing?"

No.

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I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#3 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 05:21 AM

royalmagenta said...

So is there a law either Federal or State of NJ that the employer does not have to give a reason for termination. 

No. But there doesn't need to be one, because under our legal system, people may do anything they like unless there is a law prohibiting it and no one is required to do anything unless there is a law imposing that requirement. Thus, a private employer is not required to disclose its reason for termination of an employee unless there is a law imposing that requirement, and neither federal or state law imposes that requirement. Most private employers don't give reasons for termination because that just invites more fights with the terminated employee over whether the reason was justified or a "good" reason.

royalmagenta said...

To find out why she was terminated, I contacted the corporate office and they forwarded my inquiry to the firing supervisor.  He is refusing to put the reason for termination in writing.

if they didn't tell her, they certainly won't tell her mother. It was her job, it's up to her to sort this out.

royalmagenta said...

Purely speculation here . .  My daughter has disabilities and they may have interfered with her responsibilities that led to her termination. 

If the employer is not a government agency, then the employer may legally fire her for any reason (or no reason at all) except for a few reasons prohibited by law. The prohibited reasons include firing her because:
    •    of her race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic test information under federal law (some states/localities add a few more categories like sexual orientation);
    •    she made certain kinds of reports about the employer to the government (known as whistle-blower protection laws);
    •    she participated in union organizing activities;
    •    she used a right or benefit the law guarantees you (e.g. using leave under FMLA);
    •    she filed a bankruptcy petition;
    •    her pay was garnished by a single creditor or by the IRS; and
    •    she took time off work to attend jury duty (in most states).

So, if she was fired because of her disability and she would have been able to perform the essential functions of her job with or without a reasonable accommodation, that would be illegal under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (assuming the employer has at least 15 employees).

royalmagenta said...

By the way, is there a Federal or State of NJ law that complies an employer to put the reason for termination in writing?

Since there isn't any law that requires an employer to give a reason in the first the place, there certainly is now law stating a reason must be given in writing.

royalmagenta said...

I am, also, looking into FOIA.  The plan is to send it to DOL because my daughter did file an unemployment claim. So they should have the reason on file.  But to obtain this information, she would have to submit a FOIA. Correct?

The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows citizens to get a variety of information from FEDERAL government agencies. It does not apply to the states, and unemployment compensation programs are run by the states, not the federal government. The New Jersey state version is called the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). However, like FOIA, OPRA generally protects from disclosure personal information about individuals. The federal government has a separate law, the Privacy Act of 1973, that gives citizens a right to get from federal agencies information that the agencies have about them. I do not know if NJ has a similar law. She may certainly ask the NJ unemployment comp office for information about her termination and see what response she gets. But generally speaking that office will only have a reason for termination if the employer contests her request for unemployment. In that case, she would be notified of that and given the reason the employer gave for contesting the unemployment. So, if she was given the unemployment benefits without any contest, very likely she won't get the reason for termination from the state.

She may have to accept that she won't get any reason for termination from the employer, at least not unless she actually sues the employer for wrongful termination. If the basis for the wrongful termination lawsuit is disability discrimination, she must first file a claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the NJ Division of Civil Rights before she may file the lawsuit. Both agencies require that complaints must be filed within specific period of time, which can be as short as 180 days of the alleged discrimination. Failure to file a timely com
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#4 pg1067

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 07:04 AM

royalmagenta said...

is there a law either Federal or State of NJ that the employer does not have to give a reason for termination. \r\n

It is frustration because when my daughter goes on interviews, and is asked why she was terminated, she doesn't know what to say, except that my boss didn't give me a reason.

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To find out why she was terminated, I contacted the corporate office and they forwarded my inquiry to the firing supervisor. He is refusing to put the reason for termination in writing.

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. . . .

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By the way, is there a Federal or State of NJ law that complies an employer to put the reason for termination in writing?

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No and no (I assume when you said "complies" you meant to say "compels" or "requires").

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royalmagenta said...

I am, also, looking into FOIA.  The plan is to send it to DOL because my daughter did file an unemployment claim. So they should have the reason on file.  But to obtain this information, she would have to submit a FOIA. Correct?\r\n
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I wouldn't expect that she'd need to make a state FOIA claim (the federal FOIA wouldn't be applicable), but you'd want to ask the DOL.






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