Proposed Termination-State of New Jersey

We have an apartment complex in the state of New Jersey, where we have knowledge that an employee (maintenance man) had been dating and/or has been involved with one of the female tenants. We have no written policy on dating/fraternizing.

A couple of weeks ago, the employee and tenant got into a fight/argument in the tenants apartment, which the employee allegedly got physically violent with her (popped her in the eye-has a shiner). The employee left the tenants apartment, at which time the tenant called the police, filed a report and obtained a restraining order against the employee.

Employee called in sick a couple of days after the incident and requested time off. We at this point, suspended the employee pending investigation. The employee has since been detained and incarcerated until trial for a domestic violence charge.

We would like to terminate this employee for exposing the company to serious liability, as the tenant can sue the company. In the State of New Jersey is there any laws protecting an employee from losing their job in this type of scenario and reason for termination?


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  • I would not want to speak to the New Jersey law question, but may be able to offer a practical suggestion. If this person is incarcerated, pending trial, isn't he/she missing work? Why not terminate under your attendance policy and then put into place a policy about involvement with tenants (Non-Fraternization Policy). I am assuming that you do not excuse other employees that miss work because of time in jail. Also you need to think about the possibility of a negligent retention issue with this employee that you now know is violent. I can send you suggested wording for a Non-Fraternization Policy if you like. Call me at 615-371-8200 and I will send you sample wording.

    Margaret Morford
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