Westchester County Wrongful Termination
Westchester County is the second-most populated county in New York with nearly a million residents. It is known, among other things, for a growing biotechnology industry and for being the headquarters of several Fortune 500 corporations. Employment is at will in New York and most states. That means that your employer can terminate your employment for no reason or some arbitrary reason, but there is an important exception. Under federal and state laws, employers cannot terminate you on the basis of your race, age, sex, national origin, religion, disability, pregnancy, or other protected characteristics. They also cannot retaliate against you for engaging in protected activities, such as filing a charge of discrimination. If you believe that you were a victim of a wrongful termination, you should consult the Westchester County wrongful termination lawyers at Phillips & Associates.When a Wrongful Termination Happens
A wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires you in violation of a law or contract. It may be a wrongful termination, for example, if you have an employment contract that states that you will not be fired without just cause for a certain time period, and then you are fired for an arbitrary reason during that time.
It may also be a wrongful termination if you are fired because of your race, color, gender, religion, age, or disability. A wrongful termination may have occurred if you were fired because you filed a sexual harassment charge or because you otherwise reported illegal conduct and are considered a whistleblower.
Federal laws, such as Title VII, as well as the New York State Human Rights Law prohibit retaliation for engaging in a protected activity, such as filing a charge or claim of discrimination or harassment on the basis of a protected activity. Retaliation occurs whenever an employer terminates (or makes another adverse employment decision against) an employee because the employee exercised the right to complain about illegal conduct. Our wrongful termination attorneys can help Westchester County employees bring claims in these situations.
Often, a federal agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives an employee complaint and then asks the employer to respond and investigate. However, in most cases, the EEOC does not file a lawsuit on behalf of the employee, and the employee will need to file his or her own wrongful termination lawsuit. Employees are also protected against retaliation when they testify, provide information to an investigator, or participate in an administrative proceeding about a discrimination or harassment complaint.
Certain other laws can also be the basis for a wrongful termination claim. For example, our Westchester County wrongful termination attorneys could help you take action if you were fired for complaining either internally or to the Department of Labor about a violation of either New York's wage and hour laws or the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in your workplace. You are protected if you complain about your employer’s failure to pay minimum wage or overtime as required by law.
There are special protections for whistleblowers under the law as well. Your employer may have wrongfully terminated you if you were terminated for objecting to an activity, policy, or practice in the workplace that violates a regulation or law. Employers are not permitted to fire you for giving information to a government agency about a legal or regulatory violation.
Usually, you cannot be fired for a number of other reasons as well, such as taking time off from work to serve on a jury, filing for workers' compensation benefits, or using Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for which you were eligible and to which you were entitled. You also should not be fired for reporting health and safety violations at your job to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.Get Assistance from a Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Westchester County
At Phillips & Associates, our experienced attorneys help people who have faced discrimination or other mistreatment on the job in Westchester County. You can contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form for a free case evaluation. We represent clients in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, and White Plains.