The term wrongful termination refers to the dismissal of an employee for reasons prohibited by law including discrimination. It can also be based on breach of an employment contract and constructive discharge, as well as the protections given to employees who reports wrongdoing by the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and other local and state laws.
A New York wrongful termination lawyer can explain your legal rights
An at-will employment environment, employers are permitted to fire employees for almost any reason or for no reason at all, as long as the firing does not violate the law or public policy.
At the same time, however, businesses are subject to federal, state and New York City anti-discrimination laws prohibiting the firing of employees on the basis of race or color, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation or some other protected category.
In addition, federal and state whistleblower laws protect employees from retaliatory firing if they report allegedly illegal activities to the appropriate state or federal agency. Also, employers are not permitted to fire employees who complained to the appropriate regulatory agencies about wage or working condition issues. And employers are prohibited from firing employees because they filed workers compensation claims.
Thus, even if you live in an at-will state, you may have a strong wrongful termination suit if you can show that your firing violated anti-discrimination laws or if the firing was in retaliation for reporting your employer to state or federal officials in certain protected circumstances. Employees who can prove wrongful or retaliatory termination may be entitled to back wages and/or punitive damages.
If you believe that you were wrongly discharged, consult with a New York wrongful termination attorney to evaluate your rights given the circumstances of your case.