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At-will employment means the work relationship can end quickly

While workers in some positions do have contracts outlining how long they will hold a job and why the position can be terminated, among other things, this is often just true for high-level executives and other specialized workers. In most cases, base-level employees -- the majority of the workforce in New Jersey -- just work on an at-will basis.

What this means is that the working relationship can end quickly, and either side can initiate it. If a worker wants to quit a job, they can do so. They are legally allowed to do it whenever they want. While they can provide a reason, they don't have to do so.

The same is true for the employer. They can fire a worker at any time. They don't need to give the worker a warning or a reason. Outside of those reasons protected under workers' rights laws -- such as race or religion -- employers can terminate employees on almost any grounds.

If you get fired so suddenly, it may feel unfair. That does not mean it violated your rights.

The problem is if you think that the employer is not giving you a reason because the real reason for the firing is illegal. For instance, they may claim they don't have to tell you why -- all while firing only workers with the same ethnic background or gender as you. This pattern of behavior could show that discrimination is at the heart of the firings.

If you do lose your job, especially under questionable circumstances, you must know what legal options you have.

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