Getting fired never feels good, but in some cases, it can be legally wrongful. If you have recently lost your job or are worried that you may soon lose your job, you should know what the elements of wrongful termination are and what you stand to gain by taking legal action against a former employer.
Elements of wrongful termination
In New York, a termination is unlawful if your employer fires you:
- Based on protected characteristics like age, race, sex, sexual orientation, or religion
- In violation of a valid contract prohibiting terminations without cause
- For engaging in protected activities, including requesting leave or accommodations
- As retaliation for reporting workplace misconduct or complaining about harassment
If you have reason to suspect your employer violated your rights when they fired you, you may have grounds to file a legal claim.
Understand the potential remedies
Filing a wrongful termination claim may not be at the top of your priority list after losing your job, but it may be an option worth seriously considering. Filing a wrongful termination claim can help you in the following ways:
- Job reinstatement
- Recovery of backpay
- Compensation for damages, including emotional distress
- Payment of legal fees
Further, successful claims can hold an employer accountable for wrongdoing, which could protect other workers from similar mistreatment.
However, it is important to know that these claims can be quite complicated. Because of this, it can be crucial to collect evidence and consult with an experienced employment law attorney.