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What Every Employee Needs to Know About Wrongful Termination in New York

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.

wrongful termination ny

If you have been a victim of wrongful termination of employment in the State of New York, then you should talk to the best New York wrongful termination lawyer to determine whether your employment has been ended lawfully or not. You should know, however, that terminating an employee in New York happens very often because this is an employment-at-will state, which means that the employer can easily lay you off.

But, that doesn’t mean that any termination for cause in New York is lawful. After all, New York is not the Wild West. Employers must be careful when firing because employees may bring a lawsuit against them. Proving wrongful termination in New York State usually requires the employee to prove that the now-former employer has violated their employment rights with the firing. That’s the reason why when a New York wrongful termination lawyer brings such a claim it is often intertwined with discrimination claims or other violations.

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If you are faced with a situation like this, call us at the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes for help. Our New York wrongful termination attorneys have vast experience in assisting clients with violations of their employment rights. We may be able to help you get back to your old workplace. Call us now at 888-231-4891.

Does an Employer Have to Give a Reason for Termination?

If you have been wondering if an employer has to give a reason for terminating an employee in NY, the simple answer is no. The employer can lay the employee off at any time due to any reason for termination as long as there is no contract clause or a collective bargaining agreement restricting some of the possible reasons, and the reasons are not discriminatory or retaliatory. Otherwise, any other reason for termination of employees is lawful, even if it seems completely arbitrary and unfair.

On the same note, employees in New York are free to terminate their employment at any time due to any reason and without the need to explain anything to their employers.

Employees working for New York companies should know that the New York State termination laws and New York Labor Law § 195(6), employers are required to provide written notice to any employee terminated from employment with “the exact date of such termination as well as the exact date of the cancellation of employee benefits connected with such termination.” This requirement, however, doesn’t include any explanation of the reason for discharge.

Lawful Reasons for Firing an Employee in New York

As we explained, most of the reasons for the termination of an employee in the State in New York are lawful. Yet, people come to our office asking for advice if the reasons they have been given are lawful or not. They are not aware about the New York employee termination laws and need further explanation. If you are in the same situation, to give you an idea about the lawful reasons for termination, here are the most common ones:

  • Downsizing. When a business is not doing well, the business owner has to downsize the costs of operating the business. In many cases that downsizing is of the human capital. When the employer decides that laying off workers can save their business from going broke, they can choose to let go of any employee they want. It is up to them to make the decision who stays and who doesn’t. Saving the company is a legitimate reason to fire employees according to the New York unlawful termination laws without further explanation.
  • Performance issues. Similar to downsizing, the bad performance of an employee may lead to the sinking of the company. Therefore, the employer can fire any employee who, according to their opinion, don’t contribute as much as needed. Such a decision often looks arbitrary and unfair but is totally lawful as long as there is no discrimination or retaliation involved.
  • Misconduct. Employee’s misconduct may include being late, being in permanent conflict with colleagues, alcohol or narcotics abuse at work, and other similar unprofessional behaviors. The employer should possess evidence of the employee’s misconduct, but firing the employee is lawful in such circumstances.
  • Conflict of personalities. When two persons differ way too much to work together, the employer has to choose one of them. Again, that would be an arbitrary decision about whose personality better suits the company, but the New York State wrongful termination laws allow employers to discharge a worker in such a situation because that could be better for the business.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the lawful reasons for firing someone in New York. What you may consider being a wrongful termination may yet be a lawful one. Talk to a New York employment attorney for assistance and read the unlawful termination reasons that follow.

Wrongful Termination NY: Unlawful Reasons

In our experience, the following termination reasons make termination for cause in New York likely to be considered as unlawful by NY courts:

  • Discrimination based on a protected category like race or sex. The employer may freely choose who to fire for the sake of their own business, but not based on race, sexreligion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or another protected category. The New York Human Rights Law clearly prohibits such a termination as a cause in New York State.
  • Retaliation for reporting or opposing alleged unlawful conduct. Firing an employee for reporting misconduct at work or for opposing employer’s or colleagues’ allegations for their misconduct is not allowed under NY termination labor laws. The New York Human Rights Law also has provisions barring such wrongful termination.

wrongful termination ny

  • Breach of contractual obligations. If your employment contract may have clauses regulating the reasons for termination. The employers must not breach those clauses. For example, if the contract has a clause prohibiting laying the employee off due to a bad performance in the first two years of employment, then the employer must refrain from firing her in such circumstances.
  • Inconsistent application of internal employment policies. The employer has to apply internal employment policies equally to all employee relations. If their own deeds suggest that the fired employee has not been treated like all the others, then your New York wrongful termination attorney may use it to your advantage.
  • Using unpaid leave according to the FMLA. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees who meet certain requirements to take unpaid leave from work. The employer must not fire them in that period.

Again, there are other wrongful termination grounds in the State of New York. An experienced wrongful termination lawyer may help you understand them better and determine whether the reasons for your termination were lawful or not.

What Is Pretext in a Termination Lawsuit

New York employers know the New York labor laws on termination. They know what is lawful and what is not. That’s why they would rarely give the real reason for the firing. Instead, they would offer a phony excuse or a made-up reason to the employee because otherwise, the termination would be illegal. That excuse is called a pretext and the termination is called a pretextual termination.

Just because the employer provides a pretext that seems valid, it doesn’t mean that they have done it properly and that you don’t have a case. Your NY wrongful termination attorney will consider all the circumstances and may build your case on them.

Some of the most common pretext termination causes are “not a good fit for the company”, “poor performance”, and “financial reasons.” But, if there is any discrimination or retaliation-related circumstances in the story, then you may have a case.

Consult with a New York Employment Lawyer If You Face a Wrongful Termination

If you are in a situation wondering whether the termination of your contract has been arbitrary and unfair, it doesn’t hurt to contact an experienced NYC wrongful termination lawyers for help. The Law Office of Yuriy Moshes is at your service for a free initial consultation. Call our NY employment lawyers for wrongful termination and determine how strong your case is. Tell us about your circumstances and we will investigate it and present you with your options.

Law Office of Yuriy Moshes

We assist victims in the greater New York City area including all of its boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Upstate New York. Call us today at 888-231-4891 for your free consultation

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