According to the New Jersey Supreme Court, employers cannot terminate, or discriminate against an employee because he or she is going through a separation or divorce in New Jersey. The ruling stemmed from a case involving a man who was allegedly fired from his position as director of operations at the Millville Rescue Squad because he was in the process of divorcing his wife, who was also an employee of the squad.
The employee in question notified his supervisor that he had been having an affair with another co-worker and was going to divorce his wife. This marked the first time that the state courts included divorces and separations in the definition of marital status. This is significant because of the sheer number of divorces in New Jersey every year.
The employee was allegedly terminated because his supervisor was concerned that the divorce would become acrimonious. Upon notifying the rescue squad’s board, they decided to terminate his employment. He had worked at the rescue squad for 17 years. Other members of his family, including his then-wife, also worked at the squad, but reported to a different manager. When the male employee started having an affair with a volunteer he was supervising, he notified his supervisor of the relationship. The supervisor implied that the affair could have a negative impact on his employment. The board decided to terminate him, citing poor performance and corporate restructuring, rather than the divorce as the reason for his termination.
Acknowledging Separation in New Jersey
The state court of Bridgeton dismissed the case initially, but an appellate court reversed the ruling, saying that marital status includes separation and divorce. The panel ruled in favor of the employee, saying that he was fired because of the stigma associated with a divorce. The Supreme Court’s ruling protects employees from being fired simply because they are in the process of a divorce or a separation. It also means that they can seek damages for things like lost wages.
Woodbridge Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Protect the Rights of Clients Throughout the Divorce Process
If your employment status is being threatened simply because you are going through a separation or divorce in New Jersey, you are urged to contact the Woodbridge divorce lawyers at Lyon & Associates, P.C. as soon as possible. We are committed to protecting your rights and making sure that your divorce does not jeopardize your employment in any way. Your satisfaction is our top priority and we will not stop fighting until we reach an optimal settlement. We will help you through the divorce process and connect you with a competent co-counsel regarding your employment issues. For a confidential consultation, call us today at 908-575-9777 or contact us online.
With offices in Somerset, New Jersey, we serve clients in Somerset County, Morris County, and Union County, including the towns of Somerville, Bridgewater, Somerset, Basking Ridge, Mendham, and Morristown.