The wrongful termination lawyers at The Law Offices of Delmas A. Costin Jr. often help people who have been fired from their jobs. While employers are allowed to fire employees for almost any reason, there are certain circumstances under which a termination will be deemed to be wrongful and forbidden by law.
Rights All Employees Have
Even if your termination was legal, you still have certain rights. You have the right to continue your health insurance coverage out of pocket. You also have the right to receive your final paycheck following your termination within a specific time period. Some people also are entitled to receive severance pay, while others might qualify for unemployment compensation benefits.
Situations That May Be Wrongful Terminations
New York is an at-will employment state, which means employers are able to fire you for almost any reason. This right is limited, however, if certain conditions exist.
1. You Have An Employment Contract
Your work may be governed by either an explicit or an implicit contract. If you have an explicit written employment contract, the steps that are outlined in it for your firing must have been followed. Even if you do not have an explicit contract, an implicit one may have been formed. Courts determine whether an implicit contract existed by considering several factors, including how long you were employed at your company, whether your employer had regular employment practices that they failed to follow in your termination and whether ongoing employment was promised to you.
2. Your Termination Was in Violation of Public Policy
Even in the absence of a contract, if your firing is deemed to be in violation of public policy, it may be deemed to be a wrongful termination. Your Bronx employment lawyer may be able to help you under this category if you were fired for responding to a subpoena for jury duty, you were fired because of military service or your refusal to do illegal activities demanded of you by your employer.
3. Your Firing Was Due to Discrimination
Under both federal and New York state law, employers are forbidden from firing employees on the basis of their protected status. These statuses include your race, gender, disability, national origin and religion.
4. Your Employer Fired You in Retaliation
If you were fired for filing a complaint about such things as sexual harassment or workplace discrimination, your Bronx employment lawyer may be able to file a claim for wrongful termination based on retaliatory discharge, which is also prohibited. Other types of complaints that may form the basis for a retaliatory discharge action include reported Occupational Health and Safety Act, or OSHA, violations or your employee’s illegal activities.
Your Final Paycheck
After you have been terminated, the state mandates that you are paid the remaining compensation owed to you within a set period of time. Under N.Y. Labor Laws § 191, your employer must provide you with your final check on the next scheduled pay day following your discharge.
Employers are not mandated to provide severance packages to employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. However, you will have the right to a severance package if you have a contract explicitly outlining one, if your employer’s policy manual outlines severance pay rights, if your employer has historically given them to other employees or if your employer promised one to you. Severance is in addition to your final check, typically offered in exchange for your agreement not to sue by your acceptance of it.
Keeping Health Coverage
Maintaining your health coverage without gaps is extremely important. If you had health insurance through your work, you have the right to continue your coverage for a specified period of time after you leave your employment if your company had 20 or more employees. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, provides that you can continue your health insurance temporarily, but you will need to pay the entire cost of the plan, meaning your former employer will not be required to pay any portion of your monthly premium.
While unemployment compensation is not available to everyone, you may be able to receive it. After you are terminated, you can apply for it, and if you are deemed to qualify for the payments, you will receive them while you search for a different position. These payments will only replace a percentage of your former income. Currently, unemployed workers may receive payments for a base of 26 weeks, and it is possible for some qualified unemployed people to extend their eligibility for an additional 20 weeks if they have been unable to secure a job during their initial period. While at-will employment laws do limit some of your rights, you still have some. Understanding when to identify a wrongful termination is important. If you believe your termination was an illegal one, you might want to get help from an employment attorney.
Contact a Bronx Employment Lawyer
To contact the wrongful termination lawyers NY at The Law Offices of Delmas A. Costin Jr., call (877) 440-0854.