In New York, New Jersey, and most states, employment is at will, unless there is a specific agreement stating otherwise. When employment is at will, an employer may terminate an employee for no reason or any reason, including that they do not like the employee. However, an employer is constrained by the law in that they may not fire someone in violation of anti-discrimination or other laws. For example, an employer may not terminate someone's employment on the basis of sex, age, race, national origin, religion, color, disability, pregnancy, or other protected characteristics. If you are bringing or fighting a wrongful termination claim, you should consult a discrimination attorney to determine an appropriate strategy. New York City wrongful termination lawyer Emre Polat can protect your interests to the limits of the law.Wrongful Termination
An employer's reason for terminating an employee may seem unfair, but unfairness is not enough on its own to warrant bringing a wrongful termination lawsuit. The termination must also violate an employee's rights under anti-discrimination laws or violate an employment contract that stated that the employee could not be fired without just cause for a specific time period.
Federal anti-discrimination laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. These laws prohibit discrimination by larger businesses. Title VII and the ADA, for example, prohibit discrimination by employers with at least 15 employees. State anti-discrimination laws tend to protect employees of smaller businesses, which are those with at least four employees. Often, state anti-discrimination laws provide protection to more classes of people. For example, they have explicit prohibitions against sexual orientation discrimination and marital status discrimination.
You may be able to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit if you were fired because you refused to submit to sexual harassment, because of your religious beliefs, or because you asked for a reasonable accommodation. For example, if you were a victim of inappropriate touching and requests for sexual favors by your boss, and you ask him to stop but then get fired, you may have a basis to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit under federal, state, or local laws. If you complain about being subjected to discrimination but are then fired, you may have a claim for wrongful termination as well as retaliation. A wrongful termination attorney in New York City can advise you on the full extent of your options.
Under certain circumstances, employees are encouraged to report illegal conduct in the workplace and become "whistleblowers." For example, if an employee reports insider trading in the workplace to the SEC, they are likely to be considered a whistleblower and may face retaliation in the workplace. Whistleblowing laws protect employees from being wrongfully terminated as well.
Although most employment is at will, some employees negotiate an employment contract under which they may not be fired except for just cause or except for cause for a particular time period. A wrongful termination lawsuit may be based on an employer's failure to follow the terms and conditions of the contract. Although the contract need not be written, an employee's case is usually stronger if the contract is in writing.
The remedies that may be available to an employee who successfully establishes wrongful termination depend partly on the law giving rise to the litigation. Under New York state law, for example, it may be possible to recover front pay, back pay, lost benefits, damages for emotional pain, and reinstatement. However, an employee is expected to mitigate their damages by looking for a new job. It is not sufficient to wait to be reinstated.
Laws that protect employees from wrongful termination in New Jersey include the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the New Jersey Family Leave Act, and the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Act.Retain an Aggressive Wrongful Termination Lawyer in the New York City Area
Wrongful termination lawsuits require counsel from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can make sure that your rights are protected. New York City wrongful termination attorney Emre Polat is an experienced and aggressive litigator representing individuals in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and in New Jersey. Call us at (212) 480-4500 or use our online form to set up an appointment if you are seeking a sexual harassment attorney or guidance in another type of employment dispute.