What Constitutes Wrongful Termination In New York?

Have you ever wondered if your employer can fire you for any reason and what constitutes wrongful termination in New York?

Well, look no further. If you work in New York, you may have some legal protection from wrongful termination, depending on your situation.

Wrongful termination is when an employer fires an employee for an unlawful reason.

Examples of such unlawful reasons include discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, or breach of contract.

This article will clarify what constitutes wrongful termination in New York, highlight common examples, and guide you on what to do if you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated.

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What Constitutes Wrongful Termination in New York
Source: eastcoastlaws

Defining Wrongful Termination

Essentially, what qualifies as wrongful termination varies depending on the employer.

In New York, private employers enjoy more flexibility in letting employees go for nearly any reason they deem appropriate.

However, this is not universally applicable to public employers or those with unionized workers, as they must adhere to collective-bargaining agreements when terminating employees.

Collective bargaining involves employees negotiating their contracts with employers, and unions play a crucial role in ensuring these agreements are followed, safeguarding employees throughout the contract negotiation process, including termination.

What Regulations Govern Termination In New York State?

Significantly, New York follows the employment-at-will doctrine.

This indicates that your employer has the legal right to terminate your employment, either with or without cause and without prior notice.

While this may put you at a disadvantage if you sue your employer for wrongful termination, you still have an opportunity if you can demonstrate that you were fired for illegal reasons, such as bias, revenge, or whistleblowing.

What Constitutes Wrongful Termination In New York?

Several laws prevent employers from wrongfully terminating employees. It is therefore essential to understand the criteria before pursuing a case.

The most commonly prohibited reasons for termination include:

  1. Discrimination based on protected categories such as race, age, sex, national origin, military status, or disability. For a comprehensive list of protected categories under employment discrimination laws, refer to our online resource.
  2. Retaliation: Workers are legally shielded from being terminated in retaliation for participating in a workplace complaint, investigation, or related activities. If you file a complaint with the EEOC and got fired immediately afterward, you may be a victim of wrongful termination under the law.
  3. Engaging in legal political or recreational activities during personal time. While participating in political protests or legal recreational activities outside of work is generally allowed, your behavior during your free time remains your choice.
  4. Exercising the right to form, join, or support a union. Employees have the right to unionize, which includes collective action like joining coworkers to improve wages or working conditions.
  5. Serving jury duty: It is illegal to terminate an employee for fulfilling jury duty responsibilities.
  6. Filing for workers’ compensation or disability benefits.
  7. New York City only: Requesting sick leave. If you are employed in New York City and have been fired for taking sick leave, your termination may be considered wrongful.

What Do I Do If I’m Wrongfully Terminated?

Here’s what to do if you were wrongfully terminated without reason.

Request your boss for a written explanation.

Subsequently, make sure you know your rights.

Additionally, act swiftly, don’t wait indefinitely to take action if you’ve experienced wrongful termination.

According to the rules from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and New York City’s Human Rights Law, you have 300 days from the day you were let go to sue.

To wrap it Up

Wrongful termination in New York is a serious matter that can affect the lives and well-being of employees.

You may have legal rights to seek compensation and justice if your employer fired you for an illegal reason.

However, proving wrongful termination can be challenging and complex, as there are many factors and exceptions involved.

Therefore, you’re advised to consult an experienced employment lawyer to evaluate your case and guide you through the legal process.

By doing so, you can protect your rights and interests, and hold your employer accountable for their actions.

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