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Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination takes place when an employer terminates an employee in such a way that either the employee’s contract is breached or a provision of employment law is violated. Wrongful termination is also known as wrongful dismissal or wrongful discharge. If you have been fired from your job and know or suspect that your termination was illegal, the Long Island employment attorneys at Tand & Associates are ready to meet with you to determine whether you have a case that is legally viable. If your termination violated any laws or broke any contracts, we will fight hard to make sure that you win compensatory damages and/or are reinstated in your position.

At-Will Employment

In New York, as in almost every other state, the employer who hires you can also fire you “at will,” meaning he or she need not show “just cause,” nor give you a warning of any kind. There are, however, some significant exceptions in place to protect employees from being fired unfairly. These include the prohibition of terminations that are discriminatory as defined by federal law as terminations that involve a breach of contracts.

Discrimination

Although employers have a great deal of leeway in firing at-will employees, they are breaking federal laws against discrimination in the workplace if they terminate you because of:

  • Skin color
  • Ethnicity or country of origin
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic information

If you believe your termination was based on any form of discrimination, you should contact our attorneys promptly because there are strict time limits for filing such claims and because you must file a complaint with a state or federal agency before you are permitted to sue your former employer. Our highly capable and caring attorneys will know precisely which steps to take to resolve your case successfully.

Written and Implied Promises

Your employer does not have the right to fire you “at will” if doing so is in violation of a written contract ensuring your job security (though he or she may still be able to legally fire for good cause even when such a contract is in place). In a similar way, you may be protected by an implied employment contract based on particular promises your employer has made to you. It is,  of course, challenging to prove the existence of verbal promises, but you may have written words in an employee handbook or some other document to bolster your case. If we bring your case to court, certain factors will be examined to determine whether an implied contract actually existed. These include:

  • Promised job duration at the time of hiring
  • Time already spent at the job
  • Promotions you have been given
  • Positive performance reviews
  • Assurances of continued employment
  • Promised sequential discipline or warning before termination

Breaches of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

This phrase is used to indicate employer unfairness if he or she terminates you in  order to:

  • Prevent you from collecting sales commissions
  • Prevent you from receiving bonuses
  • Replace you with someone who will work for lower pay

It is also considered a breach of good faith and fair dealing if your employer coerces you to quit in order to avoid paying you severance pay. This may occur in several ways, such as by worsening your working conditions, making your daily duties more unpleasant or pressured, or moving you to an undesirable or dangerous location.

Violations of Public Policy

Another type of wrongful termination occurs when a worker is fired for reasons that are considered illegitimate by society in general, such as for taking time off for jury duty, to vote, or to serve in the military.

Retaliation

As an employee, it is important to be aware that your employer is not permitted to fire you in retaliation for your public complaints about unfair treatment, whether they involve sexual harassment, abusive behavior, or assaults on your individual health or well-being. Anti-retaliation laws are in place to keep employees from hesitating to report bad treatment because they fear job loss and loss of health benefits for themselves and their families.

Whistleblowing

You are also legally protected from retaliation when you report or publicly complain about actions by your employer that affect the public adversely, for example, illegal dumping, polluting the air or water, or cheating customers. The Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits your employer from firing you for:

  • Reporting or publicly complaining about your company’s threat to public safety
  • Reporting labor law violations
  • Filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • Reporting your company to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 

Whistleblower protections seldom involve an employer's retaliation for personal complaints. Rather, they involve situations in which an individual is facing wrongful termination or other retaliation for acting on behalf of the public interest. Your right to report issues concerns about public health and safety without facing retaliation is inviolable and our lawyers are fully capable of protecting you from retaliation for whistleblowing.

Fraud

At times, your employer’s behavior may be so egregious as to be considered fraudulent, meaning that he or she made a false representation in order to deceive you. In order to prove fraud, you must be able to demonstrate that the misrepresentation was intentional and that by relying upon that misrepresentation you were harmed. Fraud is difficult to prove since you must be able to show that your employer’s misconduct was purposeful rather than unintentional.

Defamation

It is also possible that your wrongful termination was the result of damaging false statements made by your employer. In order to prove defamation, you have to be able to demonstrate that your former employer made malicious, false statements about you that caused your termination and potentially interfered with your chances of obtaining other equivalent employment.

Damages Awarded for Wrongful Termination

With the help of the skilled employment attorneys at Tand & Associates, you have a very good chance of winning your wrongful termination lawsuit. If you do, you can expect to receive compensatory damages that may include, depending on the specific circumstances:

  • Lost wages from the date of termination to the present
  • Future lost wages if you haven’t been able to find employment by the time of trial
  • Lost benefits, such as health insurance or stock options
  • Emotional distress

It is also possible to receive punitive damages in cases involving sexual harassment, discrimination, defamation or fraud since punitive damages are designed to punish the employer for egregious behavior and prevent similar misconduct on the part of other employers.

Nassau County, Long Island Wrongful Termination Lawyer

If you have lost your job through wrongful termination, you deserve to be validated in a court of law and to receive just compensation. At Tand & Associates, our attorneys are powerful litigators and compassionate people. We are well-prepared to fight for your rights and see that you receive the justice you deserve. We can be reached at 516-393-9151, or by filling out a contact form on our website.



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