To win a case under Title VII, a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court suggests that an employee would have to prove that employer retaliation was the sole reason for termination. If an employer claimed there were other reasons for the termination, the employee would lose his or her case. However, the New York City Human Rights Law states that employer retaliation must only be a factor in such cases.
The NYCHR was put to the test in a case involving a man who worked for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He claimed that he was terminated from his position as a bus maintenance supervisor after reporting racist symbols on a bus roster. His superiors reportedly did nothing about the issue before terminating him. A jury awarded him $350,000 under the NYCHR as retaliation was seen to be a motivating factor in the case.
Days later, the Supreme Court said that employee retaliation had to be the “but-for” cause for termination. However, that part of the ruling was reversed as the evidence standards under the NYCHR were not as stringent as they are under Title VII claims. In addition to the $350,000 in lost wages, the MTA had to pay an additional $100,000 in attorney’s fees.
In a wrongful termination case, an employee may be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages or punitive damages. Depending on the circumstances in the case, an employee may be eligible for reinstatement to his or her position. Talking to an employment law attorney may help an individual who is seeking relief in court against an employer. An attorney may be able to represent the employee in court or oversee mediation efforts that may resolve the case outside of court.
Source: Business Management Daily, “NYC law makes it easier for employees to win“, October 08, 2014