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Understanding wrongful termination in New York

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2022 | Employment Law for Employees |

Losing your job can leave you unsure about your financial future. If you feel you have been unfairly fired, you might wonder if you have any recourse against your employer.

In New York, you can only pursue a wrongful termination case under limited circumstances.

At-will employment

New York is an at-will employment statement, which means your private employer can fire you for any legal reason, including for most reasons that you may believe are unfair or unethical. As an employee, you can also terminate your employment relationship at any time.

Unlawful termination

You may have a wrongful termination case if your boss fires you for illegal reasons. For example, your employer can not discharge you on discriminatory grounds, including because of your race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability or national origin. Additionally, your employer cannot end your employment as a form of retaliation for any of the following:

  • Reporting a violation of labor laws
  • Filing a workers’ compensation or disability claim
  • Joining or supporting a union
  • Filing a claim under an employee benefit plan
  • Participating in a lawful recreational or political activity in your free time

You may also have protected from unlawful termination if you lost your job in violation of your employment contract. Many of these contracts, including those for union workers, prohibit employers from firing employees without good cause.

The statute of limitations for a wrongful termination lawsuit can be as short as 180 days. You may need to act quickly if you believe your employer fired you for an illegal reason.