Understanding Your Rights

It is important to understand your rights should you face a wrongful termination. The New York City employment lawyers of Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC know the law and defend their clients against wrongful terminations.

Non-contract Employees

Unless an employee is covered by an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, most employees are hired “at will”. This means that the employee can be fired for almost any reason or for no reason at all and it also means that the employee is free to leave his or her employment for any or no reason.

In cases where an employer clearly violated an important policy or law in firing a noncontract employee, many states will allow the employee to recover punitive damages against the employer in a wrongful termination action. Examples of policy violations that can be considered grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit for a noncontract employee include firing an employee:

  • for refusing to violate federal, New York State or city law
  • for reporting a violation of the law by the employer
  • for exercising a constitutional right
  • because they answered a subpoena

Contract Employees

Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements or contracts are generally provided with more protection and coverage against being fired unjustly. In this situation, wrongful dismissal or wrongful termination occurs when an employee’s contract of employment has been terminated by the employer, in circumstances where the termination either breaches one or more of the terms of the contract of employment or violates a statute in employment law.

It is important to know in this difficult situation that you do have legal recourse if you believe your dismissal was discriminatory or retaliatory for filing a grievance against New York City sexual harassment or discrimination at your place of employment.

A wrongful dismissal settlement can allow the employee to claim monetary damages in an amount that compensates the employee for the wages, commissions, bonuses, profit sharing and benefits that the employee would have received during the period since they were terminated (minus earnings from new employment).

You do have rights in New York City against wrongful termination. Please contact Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC law offices to discuss your individual rights in wrongful termination cases and how best to address your termination complaint.


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