Employment Contracts

Do I Need An Employment Lawyer?

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?

Why …

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.

When …

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.

Discrimination claims

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.

New York Non Compete Attorneys

Employers are increasingly trying to prevent employees from leaving their employment and then competing with them.  Whether these non compete agreements are enforceable or not in New York is often a hotly contested issue.  Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC has extensive experience in representing employees and employers in matters involving non compete clauses.  Typically, our New York Non Compete Attorneys handle review of these agreements on an hourly basis and can get started within 24 hours of hearing from you. There are many issues to discuss when it comes to New York Non Compete Agreements. Our attorneys can guide you in many of these. For example, your employer does not have to give you anything in exchange for making you sign a non compete agreement. Similarly, your employer can make you sign a non compete agreement as a condition of continued employment (i.e. "sign or you're fired). Our New York Non Compete Lawyers may be able to help you make sense of it all.

If you have a non compete agreement that you would like to discuss, please contact our New York Non Compete attorneys at 646.524.6001.  One of our New York Non Compete Attorneys will get back to you within 24 hours.

Employment At Will

Employment At Will Employment at will basically means that an employee can be fired at any time and for almost any reason.  The flip side also holds true -- an at will employee has the right to leave at anytime and for any reason.  However, there are a few factors to note that may protect an employee from a seemingly random termination:

  • Employment agreement:  An employment agreement may set the terms of when an employer may terminate an employee or when an employee may leave.  Also, an employee handbook may extinguish the at-will aspect of the employment (e.g., by listing specific reasons for termination).
  • Illegal reasons: An employees cannot be fired for illegal reasons (e.g., as a result of illegal discrimination or retaliation).  
  • Public policy: There are certain limited public policy exceptions to the employment at will rule. (e.g., a lawyer cannot be fired for refusing to engage in unethical conduct).

If you have any questions about your employment termination or feel that you were terminated for an illegal reason, please call us for a free initial consultation.

NY Severance Agreements

Should I have an attorney review my NY Severance Agreement? NY severance agreements may provide many benefits to the exiting employee but often impose significant obligations that should be examined by an attorney who has experience with such agreements.  In New York, a severance agreement is a contract between an employer and employee in which the employee waives certain legal rightsin exchange for additional compensation or other benefits provided by the employer.

We protect our clients' interests by identifying and making changes to the employment severance agreement when possible and as appropriate.  We do our best to work into the agreements as many modifications as possible to further your interests.  We also highlight provisions in your agreement that you should weigh carefully before signing.  Finally, we explain your entire agreement paragraph by paragraph in plain and simple language so that you understand what you and your employer are agreeing to.

And, in some cases, we negotiate on your behalf to improve your severance.

By signing a NY severance agreement, you are generally released or barredfrom suing your employer for any claims against them that you may have, so it is essential to first determine whether any legitimate claims exist.  We frequently learn, during the initial free consultation, that circumstances surrounding the employee's terminationinvolve other workplace violations. We always evaluate the circumstances surrounding a NY severance agreement through active listening, precise inquiry, and investigative research and review.

Your NY severance agreement may also include critical non-compete agreements.  Before signing, you need to be knowledgeable of the effects any such agreement may have on your future ability to obtain employment.

Many times,  NY severance agreements suggest that you seek the advice of a lawyer and we wholeheartedly agree. Do not go at it alone. Frequently, part or all of a severance agreement is subject to a signing deadline, so do not put off discussions with an experienced lawyer about your severance agreement.

If you've been offered a NY severance agreement, contact us today.

Is Payment Required to Make a Non-Compete Enforceable in New York?

There are many factors that are used to determine whether a non-compete is enforceable.  Laws regarding the enforceability of non-competes vary by state, but courts generally weigh several factors in making the determination, including (a) whether the non-compete is reasonable in time and geography, (b) whether the employee was terminated without cause, (c) whether the employee had access to the employer’s secrets, (d) whether the non-compete is necessary to protect the employer’s interest and (e) whether the employee may have been coerced  into signing it.  Under general contract law principles, each side must get something of value in order for a contract to be enforceable (this requirement is referred to as “consideration”). In some states, an employee must receive actual payment in order to meet the consideration requirement for a non-compete.  Other states, including New York (and New Jersey), view continued employment to be sufficient consideration to make a non-compete enforceable and actual payment is not required. If you have any questions about your non-compete or non-competition agreement, please contact Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC.