New York is an “employment-at-will” state. Generally speaking, this means an employer can fire an employee at any time for any reason. However, state and federal law provide protections for employees in cases where they are members of a protected class under the law. For example, under state and federal law, employees cannot be fired because they have a disability, are of a certain age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion. Equally important, however, are any contracts or documents an employer asks an employee to sign regarding severance agreements, job responsibilities, disciplinary procedures, or performance improvement plans. Here, an employer that violates its own policies or procedures can be held accountable for wrongful termination.
If you were the victim of discrimination or arbitrary and capricious treatment by your employer, contact New York wrongful termination attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C. We can evaluate your case and discuss the best legal options available to you.
EMPLOYEE CONTRACTS AND WRONGFUL TERMINATION
When hired, most employees are asked to sign any number of documents. In many cases, these include non-compete agreements, confidentiality agreements, and “at will” agreements. Depending on an employee’s job, he or she may be asked to sign additional documents, including documents that specify grounds for termination. For this reason, it’s essential that you review each document you were asked to sign when you were hired. In cases where your employer asked you to take on new job responsibilities outside your official job description and then fired you because you allegedly failed to perform them adequately, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Alternatively, if reporting mistakes, auditing finances or quality control measures, or monitoring company compliance is part of your job, your employer can be held financially liable for firing you for doing so. In these kinds of cases, employers often attempt to retaliate against employees whose job it is to report wrongdoing or non-compliance on the part of a company. Consequently, firing employees for doing their job in these kinds of situations constitutes strong grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS AND WRONGFUL TERMINATION
Employee handbooks may not have the legal status of a contract in the mind of the court but the courts have consistently held employers accountable for what they say – and don’t say – in them. For example, many small companies don’t have employee handbooks or stated policies regarding employee reviews. Consequently, a company that fires an employee based on poor performance may have little legal ground to stand on if they don’t have performance reviews they can point to, let alone an annual employee review process. As a result, the lack of an employee handbook or a state policy can create legal liability for employers.
Alternatively, an employer who fails to follow its own stated policies regarding disciplinary action or procedures for terminating employees may also be legally liable for wrongful termination. Here, the court will evaluate whether or not an employer violated its own policies without good cause and whether or not the employee had a reasonable expectation to expect due consideration.
FIRED DUE TO RETALIATION OR DISCRIMINATION? CONTACT LEEDS BROWN LAW, PC
If your employer fired you in violation of a contractual agreement, state or federal law, or to retaliate against you, contact New York wrongful termination attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, PC today. We can evaluate your case and discuss how we can help you.
Located in New York City, as well as Nassau County, the attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, PC offer high quality legal services and representation to clients throughout the five boroughs of Manhattan, including Wall Street, Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island; and throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, including the Northshore, the Southshore, and cities such as Garden City, Carle Place, Hempstead, Mineola, Melville, Westbury, Hicksville, Levittown, Freeport, Massapequa, Valley Stream, Long Beach, Glen Cove, Syosset, Huntington, Bayside, Forest Hills, Manhasset, Whitestone, Commack, Brentwood and Riverhead, New York. Leeds Brown Law also extends its practice throughout all the counties of Nassau and Suffolk County, which includes the East end of Long Island, as well as to The Hamptons.