Finding Evidence for Wrongful Termination in New York
Shock is frequently the first reaction when someone is terminated. Many terminations are, after all, a surprise unless something was building up for a while or the reason is obvious. The term “wrongful termination” immediately comes to the minds of many fired employees. They assume that it applies to them. However, only a limited class of cases can actually have the legal term “wrongful termination” applied to them.
Defining Wrongful Termination
In New York and numerous other states, employment arrangements classified as private are considered “at-will”. For any reason, you can quit at any time. On the other hand, even if it doesn’t seem fair, for no reason or for any reason at all, you can be fired. It goes both ways. Legal recourse is not an automatic given. However, the termination of an employee is unlawful when certain instances exist. Some of these include the following:
- The use of authorized time off – This also applies to unpaid family medical leave.
- Retaliation – Additionally, if you filed a workers’ compensation claim, you have similar protection.
- Discrimination – Depending on the city or state in which you work, discrimination categories can include sexual orientation, criminal history, need for unpaid family medical leave, family status, pregnancy status, disability or perception thereof, national origin, gender, sex, religion, race, etc.
- Breach of contract – Here, the “at-will” state of employment may come into question. A lawyer can help determine whether or not a contract has been breached.
The Search for Evidence
Cases involving employment contracts are the easiest wrongful termination cases to prove. Unlawful termination can be proven when actual termination events and plain contract language are in contrast to each other. Here’s an example: Seven days of sick leave are allowed annually in your contract. After using two days of that sick time, you are fired. Based on breach of contract you may be able to show wrongful termination.
Retaliation and discrimination, on the flip side, are less subjective claims and are harder to prove. In many cases, it’s the employer’s word against yours, and, at trial, you run the risk of losing. To show retaliation or intentional discrimination, there are seldom direct comments, memos, or any other smoking gun in the workplace.
If, on the other hand, you can prove evidence of a behavior pattern toward others in your same protected category, this can go a long way toward supporting your claim. Categories could include sexual orientation, religion, race, etc. If coworkers not belonging to your particular guarded category are treated differently or better, this will help prove your claim. Additional proof of intentional discrimination could include slurs in the workplace, the use of stereotypes, or other discriminatory comments.
Carcich O’Shea Will Listen to Your Wrongful Termination Claims
Carcich O’Shea wants to hear your story if you think you have been wrongfully terminated. We focus on workplace matters involving arbitration and mediation, negotiation, business litigation, and employment law. If there is a case for wrongful termination, we will verify it and explain what could happen from there. It will be your choice whether or not to move forward. If you do, we can represent you in the most competent and knowledgeable manner.
Contact us today if you’d like to discuss a wrongful termination case or other workplace matter that may have violated the law.