While most New York employees are at-will employees, they cannot be fired for certain reasons. When employers fire an employee for an illegal reason — including for a discriminatory reason — then the worker has been wrongfully terminated. A wrongful termination can be devastating for an employee and for New York families. However, employees have rights following a wrongful termination. If employees file suit, then they can be compensated for their loss.
Recently, a New York teacher has been awarded almost $3.5 million in a wrongful termination suit. According to the teacher, she was wrongfully terminated after her boyfriend was convicted of sex offenses. The woman claimed that the school district used any excuse to fire her for being the girlfriend of the man who abused his young gymnastics students. The district claimed that she was fired for failing to report the abuse to authorities.
The jury agreed with the woman and ruled that she had been wrongfully terminated. She was awarded $1 million for her emotional pain, $351,900 for her lost wages and $2.1 million for lost future wages. With this verdict, the woman’s attorney says she will now be able to get back to teaching.
The school district, on the other hand, says they disagree with the verdict. Officials from the district called the award excessive and said that they are exploring their appeal options.
Awards, like the one in this case, can help victims of wrongful termination start a new life. They can move on from the past and start their future without the financial setbacks caused by their employer’s actions. However, New York employees should know that there may be time limits and other rules that govern these types of cases. People should explore their legal options as soon as possible if they suspect that they are the victim of a wrongful termination.
Source: Press & Sun Bulletin, “Jury awards $3.5M to former Newark Valley teacher,” Sept. 19, 2013