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Employment At-Will: New Jersey

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: John Sarno, Employers Association of New Jersey


  • New Jersey recognizes the employment at-will doctrine, but with significant exceptions. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Verbal assurances of job security and written materials found in an employee handbook, pertaining to the terms of employment or termination, may alter the at-will nature of employment in New Jersey. See Verbal Communications and Employee Handbooks.
  • Unwritten employer policies may also create an employment contract in the state of New Jersey. See Unwritten Policies or Procedures.
  • New Jersey employers can limit their exposure to claims for wrongful termination by including prominent and clear disclaimers in their employee handbook and disseminations to employees. See Disclaimers.
  • New Jersey courts typically frown upon lifetime contracts unless the employee claiming the formation of a lifetime contract can meet a strict evidentiary burden. See Lifetime Contracts.
  • New Jersey courts recognize public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine where the plaintiff employee can identify a clear mandate of public policy. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • New Jersey courts do not recognize the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the context of at-will employment. The covenant may apply, however, if the at-will nature of employment is altered. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • Employers in New Jersey may also be liable for claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress by employees or former employees. See Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.