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I am really sorry to hear about your situation. I know exactly how you feel. Unfortunately, that is legal, so long as they're not doing this with discriminatory intent (discriminating against race, age, religion, gender, or disability). New Jersey is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion.
Now that being said, if they were to fire you for such a situation, you could almost certainly apply for and qualify for unemployment benefits, as it would not be a valid termination for cause situation.
But that does not mean that the termination itself would be actionable.
Now one other caveat: If there's a written employment policy that governs termination "for cause" only, then it could take the general rule of at-will employment out of the picture, and make it so that they would have to have a good reason to terminate you, and if they didn't, you could sue them.
But in my years of practice, I have never actually seen any written policy or contract that gives the employee this right. If anything, it's almost always a reaffirmation of the at will relationship.
So in short, yes, it is legal for them to threaten termination if you do not sign, and to actually terminate if you don't sign, as unethical and morally wrong that is.
I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!
We have a pay plan and when I questioned the matter they said that it was a change to our pay plan. But it does not mention a pay plan change in the memo that they are requiring me to sign.
Is that a question?
Or were you going to follow up that statement with a question?
yes it is please advise
What was the question?
I guess if you're asking how it pertains to a "sign or fire", it doesn't matter what they call it. They can still terminate you for not signing it due to the at will doctrine.
does that make a difference? that it doesn't mention changes to a pay plan
My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!
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