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Legal facts employers should know when terminating an employee

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2021 | Employment Law for Employers |

Running a business in New York can be difficult. This is true whether it is a large corporation or a smaller business with only a handful of employees. One aspect of being an employer is hiring the right people for the business to thrive. In some cases, it does not work out and employees need to be terminated. It is rarely easy to fire an employee, but when it must be done, employers should be cognizant of the law to avoid legal problems after the fact. This is especially true today when people might claim they were subjected to employment law violations even in circumstances when the termination was based on job performance or other justifiable reasons.

Key facts about terminating employees in New York

In New York, most employees are working “at-will.” This means that the employer can simply fire the employee for any reason and at any time. Of course, this can be limited or superseded by the terms of a contract or a collective bargaining agreement. When the employer terminates an employee, there must be a written notice given to that employee saying when the termination will take place.

The employee must also be informed when certain benefits that were part of the job – like health care coverage – will end. The employer has five working days to provide this notice after discharging the employee. There are situations in which the employer cannot terminate even an at-will employee if it is spurred by the employee taking part in federally protected activities or uses a benefit. Employees who are called to jury duty or are in the military reserves cannot be terminated for living up to their duties.

Following the proper avenues with termination can help with a legal defense

To avoid allegations of wrongdoing when firing an employee or to lodge a defense when these allegations are made, it is imperative for employers to understand the basics about terminating employees. Even large companies with hundreds or thousands of employees should know these facts. Employment law for employers is often understated today. It seems as if employees or former employees assert that they have been mistreated or faced discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination or other legal violations even if they are terminated for cause. To be fully prepared for every eventuality with being an employer, it is important to know the law. If former employers make legal complaints, a strong legal defense should be crafted from the start.