In most cases, employers have the right to terminate workers for any reason they see fit with a few exceptions. Firing an employee for one of these excepted reasons may be determined to be a wrongful termination.
Whistleblowing is a protected activity, which means that it is illegal to terminate an employee for whistleblowing. This protection is written into the National Labor Relations Act. Whistleblowing is the act of notifying authorities, which may be the company’s owners or upper management, an industry regulation group, or a federal or state government agency, about illegal or unethical activities occurring in one’s workplace.
A whistleblower might report acts of employment discrimination, price fixing, fraud or other illegal activities, or unethical actions committed by members of their company, potentially causing the company or individuals within it to face disciplinary action. For example, an employee might report that his or her company’s products are not tested to industry standards or that members of the company engage in insider trading. Terminating an employee for engaging in whistleblowing is a form of retaliation and may be grounds for a retaliation claim.
Taking Time Off Work
There are certain circumstances under which you are entitled to take time off work. One of these is if you are a new parent or have to care for a family member who is ill or injured. This right is guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. If you are terminated for taking your 12 weeks of protected unpaid time off guaranteed by this law, you are a victim of wrongful termination.
Similarly, if you take personal or sick days as permitted by your employment agreement and then face termination for doing so, you are a victim of wrongful termination. Although your employer is not required to provide you with paid days off by law, if you are guaranteed them as part of your employment agreement, you are permitted to take them. Similarly, if you face different treatment from other employees for using the employment benefits you all have, you could be a victim of discrimination.
Contract Breaches on the Part of the Employer
When the employee has a contract or if he or she is an independent contractor, rather than an employee, different rules apply to his or her termination. An employment contract is a legally binding document whose terms must be obeyed by all signing parties. These workers typically have more protection from termination than the average employee because they cannot be terminated as easily. When a contracted worker is fired for a reason other than his or her own breach of the contract, the situation may be considered to be a wrongful termination.
Examples of breaches of contract on the part of the employer include:
- Claiming the work performed is not up to the standard specified in the contract despite it being performed as requested;
- Changing the terms of the contract without the worker’s consent;
- Terminating the worker’s contract before its specified end date; and
- Refusing to pay the worker the amount of money specified in the contract.
Work with an Experienced New York Wrongful Termination Attorney
If you have been wrongfully terminated, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages related to the termination. To learn more, contact our team of wrongful termination lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. today to set up your initial consultation in our office.