What Can My Employer Fire Me For? New York City Wage and Hour Attorney Explains

What Can My Boss Terminate my Employment For in New York?  Understand Your Rights Here 

The termination of an employee can be a controversial and heated issue in wage and hour law.  This can be difficult for employees and employers alike, and it can lead to serious dispute and arguments.  But despite this, New York law is known as an “employment at will” state which means that an employer can terminate an employee as the employer so desires.  This means that an employer can fire an employee for no reason at all.  The employee will have no legal recourse in most circumstances.

However, there are some terminations which may be illegal under New York or federal law.  Some of these reasons may seem obvious to you, but others may be more subtle.  As an employer, prior to terminating an employee it is always advisable to consult with a New York City wage and hour attorney if the grounds may violate one of the following below.  As an employee, if you believe you were wrongfully terminated under one of the grounds below, you should also contact a New York City wage and hour attorney to understand your rights.

Illegal Grounds for Termination in New York

Discrimination – Most people know that an employee cannot be fired because of his or her race, gender, age, marital status, religion, disability, place of national origin, or other innate quality.  If an employer does so, this likely violates both New York and federal law.

Unionized Workers/Employees Under Contract – If there is an employment contract, which is what a union will negotiate and sign with an employer, an employee may only be terminated pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement.  This may require certain steps and notice, or even due process in front of an arbitrator, before an employee may be terminated.  Other times the union itself will be the one who does an investigation and is deputized with terminating the employee.  But if there is any employment contract, especially with union workers, an employer cannot just terminate an employee without cause if the union agreement does not allow it.  This is different than independent contractors, who may also be terminated pursuant to the agreement but also for several other reasons.

Whistleblower  – A “whistleblower” is an employee who reports the conduct of a business to an agency responsible for monitoring it or enforcing regulations.  False claims are commonly a whistleblower complaint when medicaid, medicare, or CMS is involved.  If an employee is fired after reporting regulatory or statutory violating, i.e. being a whistleblower, that can be an illegal termination under New York and federal law and result in lost pay or job reinstatement, as well as attorneys’ fees.

Workers’ Compensation Claims – If an employee is terminated after getting hurt on the job and filing a workers’ compensation claim, that could be an illegal termination under New York law.  The law wants injured employees to speak unrestricted as to the cause of their injury-causing accident.  If this means that an employer may have been negligent in causing the accident, an employer cannot get angry and fire the employer.

Jury Duty – An employer cannot terminate an employee for attending jury duty when the employee gives advanced notice.  This is a civil duty and it would be an illegal termination.

Where You Unfairly Terminated?  Call SAMUEL & STEIN To Learn Your Rights Today!

The experienced New York City wage and hour attorneys at SAMUEL & STEIN are dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of employers and working people throughout New York and New Jersey.  We have the resources, experience, and knowledge necessary to ensure your legal rights are protected and you are not taken advantage of.  Call us today by dialing (646) 480-2149 or use the convenient “Evaluate Now” box on our webpage.  Together we can help answer your questions and protect your rights.

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