Wrongful Termination Attorney in Rochester, NY
Experienced Rochester Employment Lawyer Helping Victims of Wrongful Termination Get Back Pay, Job Reinstatement & Other Damages
Most employees enter an “at-will” contract with their employers. That means their employers can fire them for any reason, even if it’s absurd. However, wrongful termination can still occur in this state.
Even though employers have the right to fire employees in most circumstances, that right is removed in some instances. Learn more about wrongful termination in New York, and if you are a victim, contact The Cimino Law Firm. We offer free phone consultations and can tell you if you have a case against your employer.
What Are Examples of Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination occurs when people are fired due to employment discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract. In each of these cases, the employer does not have the legal right to fire an employee.
State and federal laws have established protected classes in New York and the United States. This protects employees from discrimination. Even though New York is an at-will state, it is against the law to fire an employee due to discrimination.
Examples of protected classes include:
- National origin
- Veteran status
- Genetic information
- Sexual orientation
- Sexual identity
While New York protects LGBT rights, there is an exception to this law. Some religious establishments, such as religious private schools, can fire LGBT employees. However, the meaning of religious protection law is still being argued. Even if you work for a religious organization, contact The Cimino Law Firm. We will go over your cased and see if you have a claim.
As an employee, you have rights that are protected under state and federal law. These rights include:
- Reporting illegal activity at the workplace
- Taking legally-allowed leave
- Filing a worker’s compensation claim
- Filing a sexual harassment claim
- Participating in an investigation related to illegal activities at your workplace
- Participating in a lawsuit after a claim is filed
Your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you if you engage in any of these protected activities. However, employers often retaliate by firing their employees. If your termination was a direct result of your participation in a protected activity, you could file a wrongful termination suit. You might receive damages, and you could even get your job back. Also, your claim will show employers that retaliation is an unwise decision.
Breach of Contract
While New York is an “at-will” state, some employees enter into contracts. These contracts stipulate that the employees cannot be fired without just cause. Most employers adhere to the terms of the agreement, but others do not. If your employer has broken the contract and fired you, that is a wrongful termination.
Your employer might try to prove that he or she had just cause to fire you. You should collect evidence related to your job performance before filing a wrongful termination claim. This will help The Cimino Law Firm prove that you were fired without just cause and deserve compensation.
What Damages are Available for Wrongful Termination Cases?
Courts determine damages for wrongful termination on a case by case basis. However, common damages include:
- Lost earnings plus interest
- Lost benefits plus interest
- Emotional distress
- Legal fees
Punitive damages are also awarded in some cases. Punitive damages are used to punish the employer and deter others from behaving in the same way. These damages are awarded in the most extreme of circumstances. Your wrongful termination attorney will let you know if you are eligible for punitive damages.
How Are Wrongful Termination Cases Proven?
Wrongful termination cases are among the most difficult to prove since employers have the right to fire employees under most circumstances. Fired employees must show that their removal was due to discrimination, retaliation, or a breach of contract. Breach of contract is the easiest to substantiate because it requires the employer to show just cause.
However, since just cause is not needed in other cases, the employee must prove that the employer would not have fired another employee for the same reason. To better understand this, look at examples of illegal and legal termination.
Assume you work at a company where employees are routinely late. You are always on time. One day, though, you walk in five minutes late, and your boss promptly fires you. He or she didn’t as much as reprimand the other late employees. You are 60 years old and believe that you were fired based on your age. This is a case of age discrimination.
On the other hand, assume that everyone else at work is always on time. No one has ever even late. You are a full hour late, miss an important meeting, and get fired. It will be challenging to prove that you were fired because of your age.
Now let’s assume you are pregnant, and your boss is openly hostile about it. He or she continually complains about the amount of work you’ll miss when you have the baby. Right before you’re due, your boss fires you for no apparent reason. This is possible discrimination due to your pregnancy.
On the other hand, assume that you are pregnant and your performance begins to slip. You miss deadlines, and your boss has written you up for poor performance. After your third write up, your boss fires you. This is due to your performance. You can be fired even if you’re in a protected class, but that cannot be the reason for the termination.
For the third example, consider that your mother is sick, and you use the Family Medical and Leave Act to take time off to care for her. You come back and your boss promptly fires you. That is likely retaliation because you took leave.
On the other hand, assume you took the leave, you come back to work and don’t perform as well as you should. Your mind is still on your mother, and you can’t concentrate at work. Your boss fires you, but this is not likely retaliation. This is likely due to your poor performance.
As you can see, the cause of the firing must be due to your protected status or a breach of contract. You must prove that your employer broke the law when firing you.
Don’t Fight a Wrongful Termination Case on Your Own
Your employer will argue that you were fired for a good reason, and it had nothing to do with your protected class status. Your employer might say that your performance was deficient, or you were consistently late. You need a strong legal team to fight back against these accusations and prove your case.
Michelle Cimino has more than two decades of experience fighting for the rights of New Yorkers. She has dedicated her career to employment and family law and stays abreast of the latest decisions. She can investigate your case and build the evidence necessary to win in court.
You can begin by scheduling a free phone consultation with The Cimino Law Firm. During the phone consultation, you will present the evidence of your case. Your lawyer will explain if you have a case. If you do, you can schedule an appointment at our Webster or Rochester law offices to sign the paperwork, present your evidence, and go over the legal strategy.
Having a job is necessary for your survival. Wrongful termination can turn your life upside down. Fortunately, the courts can help you become whole again. Contact an experienced wrongful termination attorney at The Cimino Law Firm to find out how we can help you with your case.
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