Obtaining and maintaining a job is important for New York residents. It is not only a source of income, but for many people a job is an achievement and a purpose in life. To be fired or let go from a job can be a life-altering and devastating event. But, what if an employee was not fired properly? What if a worker was terminated for grounds that are not legal? Such a situation would give rise to a wrongful termination action.
While most employee-employer relationships are considered at will, which means that either party could terminate the relationship at any time or without reason, this doesn't mean that an employer could terminate the relationship for unlawful reasons. For example, an employer cannot let an employee go based on any terms protected by federal, state or local anti-discrimination laws. Such a situation would be deemed illegal and a wrongful discharge.
In other matters, a wrongful termination could occur if an employment relationship was based on a contract and an employee was fired before the contract reached its end. This would be considered a breach in contract as well as a wrongful discharge. A wrongful discharge could also occur if an employee was fired as a form of retaliation. This could occur in a whistleblower situation and an employee is being punished for reporting illegal acts in the workplace.
Other examples include firing an employee for taking time off for events that the law protects, termination due to an employee's membership in a protected class and other similar situations. If an employee believes that they have been wrongfully discharged, it may be possible to seek damages related to the situation.
If you have recently lost your job or were terminated for unlawful grounds, it might give rise to a wrongful termination action. This could help hold an employer accountable for the situation and help an employee collection damages for losses suffered in the matter.
Source: Findlaw.com, "Was I Wrongfully Discharged From My Job?" accessed March 4, 2017