Wrongful Termination

Whistleblower Rights in the Workplace

Posted in Whistle Blowing,Wrongful Termination on June 20, 2016

Female blowing a whistleAre there laws to protect you from being fired when you report wrongdoing by your employer? A question many corporate whistleblowers ask themselves. A whistleblower is an employee who learns a boss, co-worker or company has broken the law and reports their misdeeds to an outside party. Your honesty and courage are protected by state and federal laws. Therefore, do not fear the consequences of your actions. State and federal laws will keep your misbehaving employer from retaliating against you. There are statutes to protect you from being fired or wrongfully terminated by your employer. First, you are protected by the False Claims Act. This law gives you the right and freedom to report any fraudulent activities without fear of retaliation. This law deals mainly with the federal government and federal contractors. Many cities and states have their own version of the False Claims Act.

The New York City False Claims Act protects all city employees including those working for elected officials, such as the City Council, Borough Presidents, and the New York City Comptroller. Their jobs will not be in jeopardy for reporting misconduct, criminal behavior, corruption, mismanagement of funds, conflicts of interests and abuse of power. Whistleblowers can bring suit in the name of the City of New York when someone tries to defraud the city or state of taxpayer money.

According to the New York City Law Department website, “On May 19, 2005, Mayor Bloomberg signed into law the New York City False Claims Act (Local Law 53 of 2005), which authorizes citizens to bring lawsuits to recover treble damages for fraudulent claims submitted to the City. An important new tool with which the City can fight fraud perpetrated against it, the statute creates a way for people to help the City recover money lost through fraud, and is patterned after the federal “Qui Tam” statute. As an incentive to bring suits, this new law allows successful citizen plaintiffs, under certain circumstances, to keep as much as 30% of funds they help recover.”

There is a national law that protects whistleblowers working in a publicly traded company called the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002. SOX was created to curb widespread fraud that many large corporations were practicing during that time. Companies covered by SOX are corporations that are registered under the Securities Exchange Act and required to file reports with the Security Exchange Commission. Contractors and agents of these companies are covered by the law. You can file a claim under this law against an employer who violates it. A wrongful termination attorney can assist you in filing your claim. SOX provides comprehensive protections for all corporate whistleblowers. It contains civil and criminal provisions. The law prohibits employment discrimination for workers employed by publicly traded companies and protects whistleblowers from any retaliation by their employers. Retaliation action by an employer may include:

  • A demotion in your employment
  • Not providing overtime pay or promotions
  • Threats of firing or actually firing a person
  • A decrease in work hours or schedule
  • A reduction in wages
  • Withholding benefits from an employee
  • Mistreatment involving harassment or intimidation tactics

If your employer (or former employer) has wrongfully terminated you for whistleblowing or violated your employment rights, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg.  Their lawyers will provide an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If your case merits going to court, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg will work diligently to help you find the justice you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg at (212) JUSTICE or at info@employeejustice.com for a free initial consultation.

A Retaliatory Discharge is a Wrongful Termination

Posted in Wrongful Termination on June 7, 2016

Boss Blaming Female ExecutiveA couple of weeks ago, Donna filed a sexual harassment claim against her current boss, John. She was tired of his suggestive comments and unprofessional behavior in the workplace. Since her claim, many people in the office have distanced themselves from her. She is now the topic of break room gossip. Things began to get worse last week. Her boss barged into her office and fired her. He said her presence in the office and sexual harassment claim hindered productivity. He threatened that he would make it difficult for her to find another job anywhere else she applied. After his rude comments, he walked out the office and slammed the door. Donna was left perplexed, shaking, and in tears. Donna’s fictional tale is, unfortunately, true for many workers who are faced with retaliatory discharge in the workplace.

Have you experienced a retaliatory discharge from your boss or company? You do know that if you were, it is considered a wrongful termination. That means your employer fired you for reasons that are unjust or illegal. A retaliatory discharge may have happened because you filed a discrimination claim, a worker’s compensation claim or revealed fraudulent activities going on in your workplace. There are state and federal laws that protect you against these type of situations. You should never be fired for exercising your employee rights.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation is the most common concern alleged by federal employees. Furthermore, it is the most common discrimination finding in federal jobs. Almost half of the complaints by federal workers in 2013 were for retaliation claims. Retaliation was the culprit in 42% of findings of discrimination. If complaints from the private sector mirror the documented complaints from the federal sector than the problem may be widespread among all workers in general. The law prohibits retaliation in all areas of the workplace, including promotions, hiring, firing, pay, training benefits, layoffs and job duties. An employer cannot fire, demote, harass, or retaliate against an employee for exercising their employment rights in the workplace. All the laws enforced by the EEOC provide protections against retaliation. An experienced employment law attorney can help you better understand these laws and how they may affect your case and wrongful termination claim. These laws include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act
  • The Equal Pay Act

If your employer (or former employer) has wrongfully terminated you in retaliation or violated your employment rights, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg. Their lawyers will provide an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If your case merits going to court, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg will work diligently to help you find the justice you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg at (212) JUSTICE or at info@employeejustice.com for a free initial consultation.

Fired for No Reason

Posted in Wrongful Termination on May 4, 2016

Women Fired from OfficeSharon was enjoying her job until the unexpected happened. Last week, she reported to work on time and thought she was performing her duties according to her job description. However, her boss told her to pack her bags on Friday as her employment was no longer needed. Many people lose their jobs every week in companies across our nation. Could many of them be victims of wrongful termination? Were their firings justifiable? These are questions an experienced attorney can help you answer.

In New York, as in other states, employees work at will. This means a worker can be dismissed or fired at any time with or without reason. It sounds pretty harsh, but it is true. The work at will concept implies that employers and employees are never forced to stay in an employment relationship. Either party can dissolve the employment relationship at any time with or without cause. But there are some exceptions to the work at will rule in New York. An employee can pursue legal actions when a dismal involves the following:

A dismissal involving a violation of your employment contract

  • A dismissal involving discrimination
  • A dismissal involving retaliation for exercising your rights

Terminated employees should have written documents, letters, or contracts that state guaranteed job security, make mention of continued employment with the company, or a job with the company for an unspecified amount of time. Employers are not allowed to fire any employee for illegal reasons, such as discrimination. If you feel you were dismissed due to your race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, pregnancy, disability, or genetic information you should seek legal counsel. You should first file a complaint of discrimination with a state or federal agency, and then you can pursue a lawsuit. Employers cannot fire you in retaliation, because you are pursuing a legally protected case, such as filing a complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or making claims of discrimination or harassment against your employer.

Individuals who feel they have a wrongful termination case must make sure they are within the statutes of limitation to proceed. Statutes of limitation are rules that restrict the time by which legal actions can go forward in state and federal cases. Individuals who delay their legal actions may not be able to get compensation for their losses. Wrongful termination claims can be complex and you should speak with a reliable lawyer. You can also learn more about New York employment law by contacting the New York Department of Labor.

If your employer (or former employer) has wrongfully terminated you or violated your employment rights, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg. Their lawyers will provide an honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If your case merits going to court, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg will work diligently to help you find the justice you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Joseph & Norinsberg at (212) JUSTICE or at info@employeejustice.com for a free initial consultation.

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