Do you have to hire a lawyer in your state?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do you have to hire a lawyer in your state?

I worked at will for my employer, where rules were implied about drinking on company time. I was out to lunch and ordered drink for my husband but a bar consultant bar was there. I was called into the office and fired for being seen with a drink. I explained that was for husband and I just sipped spilled foam and that I had no idea about the drinking policy. However, I was told that I was fired for being under the influence. Originally I was denied 6 weeks unemployment but that ruling was overturned stating that no breathalyzer was taken. Do I have a case for wrongful termination after 19 years of employment? I had been written up a week prior for someone in another building saying that I called him a loser, which I did, but that was before clocking in.

Asked on April 3, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unless your discharge violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, you have no claim here. In an "at will" work relationship, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination, an employee can be discharged for any reason or no reason at all. Therefore, while you were fired for no cause so you were eligible for unemployment benefits, you have no claim for unlawful termination.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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