Articles Posted in Wrongful Termination

Siobhan Klassen is an employment attorney at the New York City office of Phillips & Associates. Super Lawyers, a rating services that names top attorneys in numerous practice areas in every state, deemed Ms. Klassen a Rising Star in New York in 2017 and 2018. Super Lawyers regularly asks Rising Stars to address issues of public interest and recently asked Ms. Klassen to address whether a person can pursue a wrongful termination claim against his or her employer in New York.

Grounds for a Wrongful Termination Claim in New York

Although in many cases a terminated employee will have no grounds to file a wrongful termination claim against his or her employer, if the employee can prove particular factors lead to his or her termination, he or she may have a valid wrongful termination claim. In sum, wrongful termination happens whenever an employer fires an employee illegally. Examples of illegal grounds for terminating an employee include retaliation and discrimination.

Ms. Klassen clarified that most individuals are at-will employees, which means they can be terminated at any time, whether or not there is a reason for their termination, providing the purported reason for the termination is not illegal. If a person is terminated for exercising his or her legal rights at work or for a discriminatory reason, it may be considered wrongful termination, however.

Continue reading

Gregory Kirschenbaum is an associate at Phillips & Associates practicing in the field of employment discrimination. Mr. Kirschenbaum has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, a rating service that identifies top attorneys in each practice area, on numerous occasions. Mr. Kirschenbaum recently answered the question of whether an individual can seek damages from New York City for wrongful termination for Super Lawyers.

Nature of Employment

Most people who work for New York City, Mr. Kirschenbaum clarified, are “at-will” employees. An employee is “at-will” if either the employee or the employer can terminate the relationship at any time, regardless of whether there is a valid reason for ending the relationship. Employees who work for the City of New York pursuant to a contract, however, cannot be terminated unless it is permissible under the provisions of the contract. Typically, the City must prove that you failed to comply with the terms of the contract in some way, or that the contractual period ended so the contract no longer applies.

Claims for Discrimination and Retaliation

Mr. Kirschenbaum noted that although employers can terminate at-will employees for almost any reason, they are prohibited from firing employees due to a discriminatory bias. Rather, numerous laws, including the New York City Human Rights Law, the New York State Human Rights Law, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibit employers from terminating employees based on their membership in a protected class. The specific classes protected depend on the terms of the precise law in question, but each law prohibits termination based on a person’s age, race, religion, disability, or sex. Employees are also protected from retaliation from their employer for reporting illegal or unethical activity or filing a discrimination or harassment claim. Additionally, New York City employees who report illegal activity in the workplace may be afforded protection under the New York City Service Law. Continue reading

Contact Information