Should I Hire A New York Lawyer For Wrongful Termination?

Do you believe you were illegally fired or laid off from your job? If so, you might be wondering whether you need to hire a lawyer. Legally speaking, you are free to represent yourself throughout any stage of your wrongful termination case. However, there are several reasons why it’s often in your best interest to hire a wrongful termination lawyer.


Do I Have a Wrongful Termination Case?

One of the first reasons to consult with a lawyer is to figure out if you even have a wrongful termination case to pursue. Just because your termination was unfair doesn’t mean that it was illegal. For example, it’s unfair for your boss to fire you to make room for a relative or college friend. However, workplace nepotism or favoritism isn’t illegal. To have a claim, your employer must have violated an employment contract or a specific federal, state, or local law.

Examples of illegal reasons for firing include:

  • Discrimination based on a protected characteristic
  • Refusal to provide reasonable accommodation for a disability
  • Refusal to provide legally-protected time off work
  • Retaliation for exercising a legal right,
  • Retaliation for reporting illegal activity by the company (whistleblowing).

Several other types of firing are illegal. However, the laws vary greatly from state to state, and even from city to city. An employment lawyer can quickly assess your situation and determine if you have a wrongful termination case.

Without any legal expertise, it’s difficult to know how much your case is worth and whether a settlement offer is a fair one.

Can I Handle My Case on My Own?

Legally speaking, you are free to handle your wrongful termination case on your own. However, practically speaking, most employees won’t get very far—or won’t get very much in compensation—without a lawyer’s help.

In a couple of situations, it can make sense to forgo hiring a lawyer. One example is if the illegal firing didn’t cause you much damage, financial or otherwise. For example, suppose the firing wasn’t particularly traumatic and you landed a new, better paying job within a couple of weeks. In this situation, you might just want to negotiate a fair severance package with your employer and move on.

Another example is where there is an established government agency that investigates complaints. For example, if you were fired due to your race, you would file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC would investigate your complaint and could help you and your employer reach a resolution. However, even in these types of administrative proceedings, a lawyer can be essential to getting you the compensation you deserve, especially if the firing has caused you significant damage.

What Can A New York Wrongful Termination Lawyer Do for Me?

One of the biggest benefits of hiring an employment lawyer is that it will help you understand the value of your claim. Without any legal expertise, it’s difficult to know how much your case is worth and whether a settlement offer is a fair one.

A lawyer can help you by evaluating the strength of the evidence in your case—for example, is there enough proof to show that your employer broke the law? If not, the lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need. A lawyer has legal tools at his or her disposal to obtain records, question witnesses, and more. If it turns out the evidence is lacking, the lawyer can explain how that affects the value of your case.

A lawyer can also determine what kind of compensation you’re likely to recover and how much. Some losses are limited or not compensated in certain types of wrongful termination cases, for example. And, a lawyer will know about additional penalties, interest, or other sums that you can recover. Your lawyer will calculate all of these sums and set reasonable expectations for what kind of settlement you should consider.

The mere fact of having a lawyer will also get your employer to take your claim more seriously. Lawyers only take cases that they think they can win. It’s not uncommon for employers to start negotiating once a lawyer gets involved. For all of these reasons, employees often fare better in their wrongful termination cases with a lawyer, even after taking attorneys’ fees into account.

Next Steps

If you’re interested in hiring an employment lawyer, you should do your research by checking out the areas we cover below


Illegal Termination Of Employment

Employment Lawyer Federal Organizations

Firing employees can be a process that causes you some backlash later if you have not dotted all your i's and crossed all your t's. Of course as the boss you do have the right to hire or let go workers. With firing though, there are certain safeguards that you really need to take to ensure you are protected from an unfair dismissal claim. Know the law and protect yourself, as you can only fire a worker under the right circumstances. The law is laid out in the Employment Rights Act (1996).

It is quite a detailed and fairly clear act and states there are several circumstances where letting a person go is considered to be unquestionably unfair. If any worker is dismissed on one of the stated grounds they have a right to lay an unfair dismissal claim whether they have been working for a week or a number of years. Other grounds do exist, but they have a one- year qualifying period.

What constitutes unfair dismissal? Workers absolutely cannot be let go for participating in trade union activities or for refusing to join one. They are allowed to carry out such duties when appropriate. If a trade union worker is declared redundant, that is the basis for a claim.

Any firings based on race, colour, creed, gender or other well-known and documented human rights issues is unfair and would result in a claim almost immediately. There are two ways this could careen out of control - either a claim for unfair dismissal or a discrimination suit. The discrimination suit would be very stiff. Dismissal on the grounds of being pregnant or taking maternity leave is automatic as it is for those let go for taking parental or adoption leave.

If you sought more flexible work hours or asked for equal treatment as a part time worker and lost your job because of that, you have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim.

The number of grounds stated in the act are fairly exhaustive and do include other things like being turfed for asking for the minimum wage and asking for someone to go with you to a disciplinary hearing. The law relating to this area of employment is volatile and liquid, so it is best to keep up with what is going on. This of course is difficult to do if you are trying to run a company at the same time. Outsourcing is the perfect answer. Get professional advice from a firm that can help you through the legal jargon. Unfair dismissal cases are long and involved and can cause some serious problems for your company.

Facing An Unfair Dismissal Claim?

What Kind Of Lawyer For Wrongful 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.

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