When an employee is fired without cause, they may be entitled to certain compensations, such as missed wages, emotional and punitive damages, and all legal fees incurred. In rare situations, a fired employee might even demand to be returned to their previous employment.
The majority of job relationships in New York are “at-will.” When a job is at-will, it means that an employer can terminate a worker at any moment, without warning or explanation. To terminate an at-will employee, the employer does not need a good cause or any reason at all. Similarly, an at-will employee is free to leave at any moment, without warning or explanation. However, not all employees are at-will, and even if they are, the employer’s ability to terminate them is limited.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Termination?
Generally, employers are guilty of wrongful terminations in New York City if the firing/termination is one of the following categories:
Discrimination: There are many laws in place to protect workers from discrimination based on a number of protected categories including, race, age, gender, religion, military or disability status, etc. When an employer takes action and fires an employee due to one of these categories, oftentimes they will try and hide their motives by masking the discharge with other non-discriminatory reasons.
Retaliation: Angry employers might seek to fire a worker based on their attempts to exercise their rightful laws (i.e., whistleblowing, filing complaints, requesting leave.) Oftentimes, these employees become targets for termination to try and cover up an employer’s illegal activity.
Contract Violations: Workers who have employment contracts are no longer considered to be at-will employees in New York State. This means that their relationship with their employer should be governed solely by their contract. Typically, contracts will include some form of notice or clause regarding the causes for termination, and if found in violation of these terms, employers could be held accountable in some cases for a breach of contract or a civil tort claim.
Our Wrongful Termination Attorneys are Available to Assist you Today
Regardless of your circumstances, if you have been wrongfully terminated from your job in New York City, call us today. Our New York City labor and employment attorneys routinely help employees with wrongful termination cases throughout the New York City metropolitan area, including Long Island, the five boroughs, and the lower Hudson Valley. We will be with you at every step of the way and can assist at any stage of your case.
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