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Quiet Quitting in New Jersey: Exploring the Legal Implications and Downfalls

Aug 31, 2023 | Written by: Sharon M. Flynn, Esq. |

A relatively new concept known as "quiet quitting" has gained recent attention due to its potential implications for both employees and employers. Quiet quitting refers to a situation where an employee disengages from his/her job responsibilities and exhibits signs of disinterest without explicitly resigning. This subtle form of departure can have significant legal ramifications in the state of New Jersey. This blog post aims to delve into the concept of quiet quitting, explore its downfalls, and shed light on the legal considerations associated with it.

What Exactly is Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting involves employees who, instead of formally resigning, become progressively disengaged from their roles. They may reduce their productivity, miss deadlines, put forth minimal effort, and display a lack of interest and enthusiasm. Essentially, they are disassociating themselves from their job responsibilities while still technically being employed.  This behavior can stem from a variety of factors, including dissatisfaction with the work environment, the work itself, poor management, or personal and social issues.

Downfalls of Quiet Quitting

Quiet quitting can wreak havoc on a business or organization.  It can lead to decreased work productivity and/or the potential loss of quality work. This, in turn, can affect team dynamics and overall performance, result in the loss of clients and/or customers, and ultimately affect the company or organization's bottom line.  In addition, disengaged employees can, and more often than not do, create a negative atmosphere in the workplace. Their attitude can spread to other team members, leading to lower morale, reduced productivity, and growing tensions among employees. To make matters worse, employers may be unaware of the underlying issues that are causing their employees to engage in quiet quitting. This prevents them from addressing concerns and making necessary improvements to retain talent.

Legal Implications 

Quiet quitting can have legal implications for both employers and employees.   While not explicitly resigning, employees engaging in quiet quitting could potentially trigger legal implications related to performance and conduct. This could influence how unemployment benefits are determined if the employee is ultimately terminated, for if the employer can demonstrate that the employee's poor performance or conduct justified the termination, it could impact the employee's ability to claim benefits.  Further, if an employer does decide to terminate a quiet quitting employee, it must carefully consider documentation and evidence to avoid potential wrongful termination claims.  For this reason, employers should maintain consistent performance evaluations and document instances of decreased productivity or disengagement.  Quiet quitting may also give rise to a constructive discharge claim.  If an employee can demonstrate that his/her working conditions became so intolerable that he/she had no choice but to resign, he/she might have grounds for legal action. 


While quiet quitting might seem like a subtle way for employees to express and cope with their dissatisfaction in the workplace, it can lead to a host of negative consequences for both the employee and the employer.  In New Jersey, legal considerations related to at-will employment, constructive discharge claims, and eligibility for unemployment benefits make it important for both parties to address workplace issues proactively.  However, when a situation concerning quiet quitting does arise, both parties should seek legal counsel to navigate the legal consequences of same to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Sharon M. Flynn


Sharon M. Flynn, Esq. is a partner with Gebhardt & Kiefer, P.C., and practices primarily in the areas of general litigation, employment law, and insurance defense.

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Any statements made herein are solely for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice.