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Is it Legal to Fire People Without Cause in NY?

If you are presently employed you may wonder, “Can I be fired without cause?” This is a valid question indeed! This post is for private sector employees (non-government employees) to determine whether it’s legal under New York employment law for them to be terminated without cause or a valid excuse.

Like most states, New York is an “employment at will” state. This means that if you work for a private employer (not a government entity), your employer has the right to fire you whenever they please. If you are “let go,” you have no legal recourse even if the termination was completely unreasonable or illogical.

However, there are exceptions to the rule. There are circumstances where it’s illegal to terminate an employee and in these cases, the employee has the right to government intervention, an employment discrimination lawsuit, or even reinstatement.

You may have legal protections from termination when:

  • You are a member of a union and employed under a union contract.
  • You are employed under a written contract, which limits your employer’s right to terminate the employment relationship.
  • Your employer has an employee manual and your discharge violates the terms contained within the manual.
  • You get fired because of being a “whistleblower.”
  • Your employer discharges you because you participated in lawful recreational or political activities on your own time. For example, you attended a political rally that goes against your employer’s personal political views.
  • You are discharged as a result of “discrimination.”
  • You are fired after filing a workers’ compensation claim.
  • You are fired after reporting for jury duty.

Were Your Human Rights Violated?

Under New York Human Rights Law, employers are strictly prohibited from firing employees because of any of the following: race, religion, gender, marital status, place of origin, age, or disability.

In New York City, these restrictions go even further. In NYC, employers cannot discharge employees because of their sexual orientation, their arrest or conviction record, or because of being convicted of domestic violence, stalking, or a sex offense.

When an employee’s human rights are violated in New York, they have the right to file a private lawsuit against their employer for discrimination.

Looking for an attorney in Schenectady to represent you in an employment discrimination lawsuit? Contact our firm for a free case analysis!