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Was my termination wrongful?

Employees have a number of legal protections in place to ensure they are treated fairly by employers in New York. However, there are times when people do not comply with these laws.

For instance, most employees are protected from wrongful termination. This means that they cannot be fired for illegal reasons, including discrimination. If you were recently fired, there are some questions you will want to answer in order to better understand your legal options.

  1. Are you part of a protected class? Protected classes consist of people with the same characteristic, which cannot be used as a basis for termination. In other words, New York laws state that employers cannot fire someone based on his or her ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, marital status or other specific traits.
  2. Did you recently file a complaint of discrimination or other unlawful behavior? Employers also cannot fire workers for engaging in protected activity, like reporting harassment or discrimination. This is retaliation, and it is unlawful.
  3. What reason were you given for your termination? If you are an at-will employee, then you can be fired without cause, as long as the reason is not unlawful. So, in the eyes of the law, you can be fired for poor performance, rules violations or because your boss just doesn't like you, as long as a termination action is not discriminatory or retaliatory.
  4. What evidence do you have to back up wrongful termination claims? It is critical that you document and preserve any exchanges that would suggest your eventual termination was unlawful.

Based on how you answer these questions, you may have reason to believe that you were indeed wrongfully fired.

In order to be sure, though, and to examine your legal options and rights, you can talk to an employment law attorney who can provide more information, insight and guidance for your specific situation.

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