Suing Company For Wrongful Termination Schenectady

Wrongful Termination Schenectady

In Schenectady, “employment-at-will” laws mean that employers can terminate the employee at any time for any reason. Likewise, an employee may decide to quit for any reason – or for no reason at all – without warning. These laws mean that, in most cases, you do not have legal recourse if you have been discharged from your job, even if there didn’t seem to be any basis for the termination.

In certain cases, however, employment termination is an actionable offense. These scenarios include:

  • You were terminated because of illegal discrimination
  • Your termination was a form of employer retaliation
  • You were discharged in an attempt to prevent you from collecting or obtaining deserved benefits

There are several other situations that could constitute wrongful termination. If you have reason to believe that you were discharged for an illegal reason or on the basis of discriminatory action on the part of your employer, it is crucial that you seek experienced counsel from one of our employment lawyers who is thoroughly familiar with this field of law. You could be entitled to monetary benefits.

Our wrongful terminations attorneys have represented numerous victims of wrongful termination and are prepared to put this experience to work for you. Get help from a firm that is solely dedicated to protecting the rights of workers, unlike other firms in the area.

 

Call 855-596-4657 today to set up an initial case consultation at the firm’s Schenectady location.

What Is a Wrongful Termination?

A wrongful termination is any firing that is illegal. A firing is illegal when it:

  • Violates a federal, state, or local law, or
  • Violates an employment contract.

Just because a termination is unfair doesn’t make it illegal. For example, it might be unfair for your boss to fire you so he can hire his inexperienced niece or nephew. However, because there’s no law against nepotism, you wouldn’t have a wrongful termination claim.

Violation of Federal, State, or Local Laws

The default rule in the United States is “at-will employment.” This means employers can fire employees at any time, for any reason. However, there is one important exception to this rule. Employers cannot fire at-will employees for illegal reasons. Federal, state, and local laws carve out a handful of reasons that are illegal. For example, it’s illegal to fire employees due to their race or gender.

Violation of Employment Contract

Employees no longer work at-will when they have an employment contract. We usually think of employment contracts as being written, but they can also be formed by words and actions. (See our article explaining how employers create employment contracts and alter at-will employment.) A contract employee cannot be fired if it would violate the terms of the contract. Typically, this means that employers cannot fire employees with having a good reason (called “cause”) before the term of the contract is up. Employers also can’t fire contract employees in violation of state, federal, or local laws.

How Do I File a Wrongful Termination Claim?

If your wrongful termination claim is based on discrimination or harassment, you will need to file an administrative complaint first (called a “charge”). You must typically file your charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—or a state agency that enforces antidiscrimination laws—within 180 days of the discrimination or harassment. The EEOC or the state agency will investigate your complaint and decide whether to take action. Most of the time, the EEOC will simply issue a “right-to-sue” letter, which allows you to file your wrongful termination lawsuit in court.

The process of filing an EEOC charge is relatively simple. You can file your claim in person at one of the EEOC’s local field offices or you can file your claim by mail. To file by mail, send a letter to the EEOC with your contract information, your employer’s contact information, an explanation of how you were discriminated against or harassed, and when these events happened. You must also sign your letter.

While you don’t need a lawyer to file an administrative charge, it’s often helpful to do so, especially if you plan on filing a lawsuit down the road. Once you file your claim, the EEOC will speak to you, your employer, and any relevant witnesses. The information that the EEOC gathers can be used as evidence in your subsequent wrongful termination lawsuit. The EEOC may also try to facilitate a settlement negotiation between you and your employer. A wrongful termination lawyer will ensure that you’re receiving a fair offer and that you don’t give up any rights that you shouldn’t.

For most other types of wrongful terminations claims, you aren’t required to file a claim with an administrative agency first (although you may have the option). You can go straight to filing a lawsuit in court. For this, you will almost certainly need the assistance of an employment lawyer.


Unlawful Termination Of Employment

Compromise Agreement - Employment Law on Constructive Dismissal

Wrongful termination occurs when you are fired in a way that violates public policy and may include situations where you were forced to resign (called constructive discharge). If your employer fired you, or asked you to resign, or if you quit because you felt working conditions were intolerable, you may have a case for wrongful discharge. You need to contact a lawyer and schedule an initial conference with him or her. To make that first meeting as fruitful as possible, you need to provide copies of a number of documents for the lawyer to review. There is a useful list of 18 things your lawyer may want to review presented at: http://employment.findlaw.com/articles/2563.html . A key item for review is a diary or chronology, or a written journal of events, with dates of important employment problems, any opposition you made to employment policies or practices, any participation you may have had in investigation of any discrimination complaint, meetings, and adverse actions taken against you. If you kept such a journal, good; make a copy. If not, start recreating the series of events from memory, emails, documents, your calendar, and whatever else can help jog your memory. This is done most easily on a computer, either as a table in Microsoft Word or as a modified spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel. The advantage of using the computer is that when you remember an event that occurred between two events you already have in the table, you can merely insert a new row into the table and fill in the date and details of the event. Having copies of documentation for your lawyer to review will help him or her determine if you have been the victim of wrongful termination.


At Will Employment and How to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Suing For Unlawful Termination Wrongful termination can be a devastating experience that not only affects your career in the short term but can also affect your ability to get back on your feet and find a new job.Firstly, your specific job and the employment contract that you signed and the local employment laws that govern where you live may largely determine whether or not you are a victim of wrongful termination.For example, if you signed a confidentiality agreement and there is verifiable proof that you violated this aspect of your agreement, this would most likely be a legitimate example of being fired for cause ie. the company had the right to fire you.Another example would be if you were caught stealing from your employer.But what if the circumstances regarding your termination aren't as clear?Often when an employee is fired, it might be on the basis of a perceived problem or disagreement of opinion such as your inability to do the job. Here are some other typical reasons that people get fired where a case of wrongful termination may exist: A personal conflict with your boss and/or colleagues that results in you getting fired. A breach of contract where you are improperly fired for violating part of your contract. A downsizing where you are told that your job is being eliminated only to find out that your employer then hires someone to replace you in the exact same position. Being fired or forced to quit so that your boss can hire a friend to replace you. Sexual harassment ie. you are sexually harassed and when you rebuff the advances or report them, you are fired. Discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc. You report a wrongdoing in the company and are fired ie. you are a whistleblower. These are just some of the reasons where a case of wrongful termination might exist. Certainly your specific situation and the employment laws that govern your area of employment may take precedence.How Can You Minimize The Chances Of Wrongful Termination?Wherever possible, always document your work and keep hard copies of any emails or other written documentation that positively comments on your work. For example, if you receive a positive employment review from your boss, bring a copy of it home and keep it on file.If you receive written praise from peers regarding a project you worked on, keep a copy of it at home.I'm not suggesting you remove work-related material and take it home with you if it violates your employment contract or if it's the property of the company but keeping a copy of personal materials that you should be entitled to such as a performance review is legitimate especially if your manager gives you a copy to keep.If you are unsure, ask your manager if you can keep a copy of your performance review at the time it is given to you. In this case, I suggest taking a copy home with you because in the case of a firing or downsizing, you might not be allowed to take anything out of the office or to access your computer.As a recruiter, I've seen job searchers use recent performance reviews from their current employer to highlight certain skills or accomplishments they are proud of.Having written documentation that positively highlights your work track record can come in handy down the line if you need to illustrate your past performance especially if comments being made about you by an ex-employer contradict positive comments that were written about you earlier on.If you feel that you are a victim of wrongful termination, the first thing you should consider is getting legal advice to properly understand your situation from a legal perspective and whether or not you have a legitimate case.