Do I need an employment lawyer? Our experienced New York Employment Lawyers get calls all the time for people who are not sure whether they need an employment lawyer. You cannot bring an action just because you think it was “unfair” to terminate your employment. There is no such thing as “unlawful termination,” or “wrongful termination.” Unless you have an employment contract, there is really no such thing as wrongful termination. So how do you decide whether or not to contact an employment lawyer?
There are times during the course of your employment when you may need an attorney. For example:
Deadlines: Employment laws are a morass of confusing deadlines and procedural requirements. If you do it yourself, you might miss something and lose your claim.
Confusing claims: There are some employment laws that you might not know about and there are some laws you think exist, that may not.
Being taken seriously: Some employers will not take you seriously unless you have representation.
Confrontation and advocacy: Some people do not want to find themselves in a confrontational situation or advocating for themselves. Sometimes it’s better to have someone else advocate for you. Attorneys are trained advocates.
You should contact a lawyer immediately if:
Your current or former employer sues or threatens to sue you;
You are being asked to sign an something that you don’t fully understand, like an employment agreement, non-compete, confidentiality clause, or arbitration agreement;
You have been retaliated against for complaining about discrimination or something illegal the employer has done;
You are not being paid all the wages you’re owed (including time and a half for overtime);
You are misclassified as exempt from overtime or as an independent contractor;
You believe that you have been a victim of discrimination based upon your race, sex, religion, ethnicity, disability, age, pregnancy, national origin, color, genetic information, objecting to discrimination, or request for medical leave to care for yourself or a family member.
Do I have a case?
That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? The devil is in the details, but the following checklist should be a good place to start:
Cases involving termination, demotion, or suspension without pay
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may have a claim. Definitely contact us if any of these occurred shortly before you were terminated, demoted, suspended, or otherwise disciplined:
● You made a worker’s compensation claim shortly before being fired.
● You recently objected to, refused to participate in, or reported illegal activity or discrimination by the company
● You recently had surgery, revealed the existence of a medical condition, genetic information or pregnancy.
● Your employer made a false statement of fact (as opposed to opinion) about you to someone outside the company, such as a potential employer.
● You recently performed jury duty.
● You recently served in the military.
● You recently took family or medical leave.
● You recently served as a witness in a lawsuit or provided testimony or evidence to EEOC.
● You recently engaged in activity for the benefit of co-workers with respect to terms and conditions of employment.
● Your employer fail to pay you for all hours worked, or fail to pay overtime if you worked over 40 hours per week. Many times, employees are misclassified as exempt and will be owed back wages for up to 2 - 3 years.
It is not illegal to discriminate against you for being you. Your boss does not have to like you. He/she does not have to be nice to you. However, if the discrimination or harassment fits into one of the categories below, you should contact us to find out more about your rights and your responsibility to report it before you make a claim.
● Race ● Sex ● Sexual harassment ● Religion ● Ethnicity ● Disability ● Age ● Pregnancy ● National origin ● Color ● Genetic information ● Retaliation for objecting to discrimination
If you feel that you have been treated differently than others of a different race, age, sex, national origin, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or color you should contact us.