Although New Jersey courts generally adhere to the doctrine of employment-at-will, there are a number of exceptions to the rule, including the following:
The New Jersey courts have held that an employment manual may alter an employee's at-will status by creating an implied contract (Witkowski v. Thomas J. Lipton, Inc., 643 A.2d 546 (NJ Sup. Ct. 1994)).
Absent a clear and prominent disclaimer, an implied promise contained in an employment manual that an employee will be fired only for cause may be enforceable against an employer, even when the employment is for an indefinite term and would otherwise be at will. Courts will interpret the language of an employee handbook in accordance with the reasonable expectations of the employees who received it.
Under New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination (LAD), it is illegal to terminate an employee because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, genetic information, sex, gender identity or expression, physical disability, atypical hereditary cellular blood trait, liability for military service, nationality, or for the refusal to submit to a genetic test or make the test results available to an employer.
New Jersey's discrimination laws cover all public and private employers, regardless of size (NJ Stat. Sec. 10:5-1 et seq.).