Although as a general matter most employees are “at will” employees who can be laid off or fired at any time, in some instances, it is illegal to fire an employee, and the fired employee can bring a legal action and potentially recover damages.
When is a termination “wrongful”?
A legal claim may arise if an individual is fired in violation of federal, state, or local discrimination laws, or if the termination violates the terms of a contract which specifies the length of employment or makes similar guarantees.
An employee who has been fired may have a case if the firing was due to discrimination based on age, sex, disability, religion, pregnancy, race, sexual orientation or national origin. It is also illegal to fire an employee in retribution for the employee having complained about discrimination, or for having complained about illegal conduct, or for taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Should you sign a “Separation Agreement”?
In many instances, upon being terminated, employees are offered a severance package, or “Separation Agreement.” These agreements are typically designed to make the fired employee sign away all of his or her potential rights, and are usually written in a manner that completely favors the employer. By signing such an agreement, an employee who has been wrongfully terminated is effectively signing away his or her chance at a far more generous result. No one should be pressured to sign such an agreement, and by law an employee must be given 21 days to review the agreement.
Often an employee who has been wrongfully terminated can greatly benefit from simply reaching out to an experienced attorney who can take over and quickly negotiate a much more favorable package. In fact, in many instances, once an employer learns that an experienced attorney with significant trial experience is involved, the employer immediately takes notice and offers a much more generous package, thereby resulting in a fast and favorable result for the client.
Should I consult an attorney about my termination?
To determine if you have a viable claim of wrongful termination, it is important to have an experienced attorney review your case and determine if a potential claim exists. We can review your case on an individual basis, explore the rights you have under any contract which you may have signed, and also look at those facts under the relevant Federal and State Laws
We offer a free initial consultation, and have relevant experience representing employees of companies both large and small. Call us today at 212-828-2770 or contact us via email using our contact form so we can explore your potential claim.