We get this question frequently. Fortunately, there is a simple answer: there is no such thing as wrongful termination. However, under some circumstances, the decision to terminate an employee may be unlawful.
Below are the two most common examples of what most people refer to as “Wrongful Termination”
- Discrimination. When someone’s employment is terminated because they belong to a protected class (like age, race, gender, disability, etc.), the decision may be unlawful.
- Retaliation. Generally speaking, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for engaging in a protected activity. Protected activity includes making an internal complaint of discrimination (it doesn’t have to be about you), or some other illegal activity going on in the workplace. Even if the complaint is incorrect, it is illegal to retaliate for making the complaint.
It’s never easy to prove discrimination or retaliation. You are never going to see a memo that says “let’s fire all the old people.” Instead, these cases are typically won and lost on circumstantial evidence. This evidence often includes a comparison between how a protected (e.g., older) employee was treated as compared to a similarly situated employee outside of the protected class (i.e., how a younger employee was treated).
If you think you are being treated differently than employees who are outside of your protected class, you should consult with an attorney. While an employer does not have to be fair, it is illegal to make decisions which are influenced by discrimination or retaliation. A New York wrongful termination lawyer can help you understand your rights and fight back.
Contact us today for a free consultation and protect your rights.