Was I Wrongfully Terminated From My Job?
It can be a hard truth that in the United States, most employers may terminate their employees on what is known as an ‘at-will’ basis – essentially, at any time, for any reason. While employees can (at least in theory) leave their employment for the same motivations, this does not mean that there is equal power in the employer-employee relationships. There are exceptions to this ‘at-will’ doctrine, meaning that there are situations where an employer can be sued over a termination that the law sees as wrongful. If you believe you have experienced one of them, contacting an attorney can be of immense help.
Do I Have Grounds For Action?
The ‘at-will’ doctrine of employment evolved decades ago, in theory to encourage competitive employment and increased social mobility. However, in this day and age, it sometimes leads to employers thinking they can simply use and discard employees if problems develop, when this is not the case. There are three major exceptions to that doctrine, and if an employee is fired in violation of any of them, they may have cause to file suit against their employer for wrongful termination – either to get one’s job back, or to seek compensation for lost wages and other monetary damages they might have sustained.
Perhaps the most common situation in which wrongful termination claims occur is because of discriminatory behavior – for example, terminating all the people of a certain ethnicity. Another situation where wrongful termination can be claimed is when the firing is allegedly in violation of contracts or agreements. While most employees do work at-will, employment contracts are perfectly legal and binding in New York, and if a worker is fired in violation of that contract, they can immediately file suit over the breach.
It is important to keep in mind that there are multiple different laws under which you may be able to bring your wrongful termination claim, and they will offer differing levels of protection. For example, Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 only protects one from illegal employment discrimination based on four or five characteristics (race/color, sex/gender, national origin, ethnicity, and religion), while the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) protects employees on several different fronts, including race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, or status as a victim of domestic violence, among others.
Regardless of which law you use to make your claim, know that your employer need not specifically tell you that they are terminating you for an actionable reason. Depending on the events of your situation, it may be possible to file a claim if a ‘reasonable inference’ has been raised that would make a reasonable person think your termination was discriminatory (or retaliatory). An experienced attorney may be able to help you shed light on the matter.
Contact A New York Employment Lawyer Today
While most of the time, an employee can be terminated at will, this is not always the case, and it is generally worth your while to investigate if you suspect that you might have a claim against your employer. Calling a New York City employment discrimination lawyer from Mansell Law, LLC may help to get your questions answered. Call our offices today at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation.