Unlawful Termination in New York


Below I provide a very brief overview of termination law in New York.  This is just some general information and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you have any questions, you should immediately contact a New York employee rights attorney.  This information applies only to private sector employees who work in New York.  Likewise, this information applies only to non-union members.  If you work for the federal, state, or local government or if you are a member of a union, you should disregard the information below.


1. Do You Have An Employment Contract With Your Employer That Restricts The Employer's Ability To Terminate Your Employment?


Some employees in New York have contracts with their employers that restrict their employers' ability to terminate them.  For example, some employees have contracts with their employer specifying that the employer can terminate them only if there exists "just cause" to do so.  If you have a contract with your employer that limits the employer's ability to terminate you, the terms of the contract govern.  If the employer were to terminate you in violation of the terms of the contract, you would possess a breach of contract claim against your employer.


2. Do You Have Evidence That Your Employer Terminated Your Employment Because Of Your Membership In A Protected Class Or Because You Engaged In Protected Activity?


Unfortunately, if you do not have a contract with your employer that restricts its ability to terminate you, you are what is considered an "at will employee" and therefore your employer can terminate you for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.  The exception to this rule is that your employer is prohibited from terminating you for a discriminatory reason or retaliatory reason.  For example, it is illegal for an employer to terminate you because of your race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, pregnancy, religion, or association with a person in a protected class (this is not a complete list of all the protected classes).  Likewise, it is illegal to terminate you in retaliation for your having engaged in protected activity (such as complaining to your employer about discrimination).  There are a number of activities that are protected by law.  For specifics, you should contact a New York employment attorney.


3. How Do I Prove That I Was Terminated Because Of My Membership In A Protected Class?


There are a number of different ways to prove discrimination.  Let's use age discrimination as an example.  The fact pattern that I typically want in an age discrimination case is either:

a. a manager or supervisor involved in the decision to terminate my client made ageist comments about my client shortly before my client was terminated and the employer's alleged justification for terminating my client was false or (at the very least) unfair;

b. the same managers or supervisors who decided to terminate my client did not terminate a significantly younger employee who held the same position (or very similar position) as my client even though the managers/supervisors were aware that the younger employee did the same thing that (or something very similar to what) they fired my client for doing; or

c. the employer terminated my client for a false reason and replaced my client with a significantly younger individual.

(These are not all the examples of ways to prove age discrimination in New York)





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The Law Office of Jon A. Stockman. Attorney Advertising. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.