When an employer fires an employee over a reason that is illegal, we call it wrongful termination. Stipulations for wrongful termination were introduced to protect the rights of workers, so they are entitled to sue the employer and claim compensation for their damages. However, every case of getting laid off that seems unfair or unjustified does not qualify as wrongful termination. New York is an at-will employment state, which means that the employer does not need to provide an excuse or explanation for firing an employee.

Termination of employment under the following conditions is permitted, so the employee cannot challenge the employer’s actions:

  • Poor performance
  • Unprofessional behavior
  • Misconduct or violation of company regulations
  • Incompatibility/personality conflict
  • Reasonable or necessary Downsizing

The employee shall have to provide evidence that clearly demonstrates that the employer has fired them on unlawful grounds; this may include a written and signed employment contract/agreement, records of conversations with the employer or another person of interest at the workplace, as wells as testimonies of witnesses. The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful termination lawsuit is between 30 days and 3 years, depending on the type of case.

A wrongful termination lawsuit can be settled in a matter of weeks, or linger on for years. The duration and outcome of the case depends upon several factors, such as the impact on the plaintiff, the cooperation of the defendant, applicable laws, the competence of the legal representative, and credibility of evidence. Employees that work with Manhattan Wrongful Termination Attorney are able to close the case quickly and collect a significantly larger settlement.

The following situations qualify as wrongful termination in New York:

Violation of Employment Contract and Policies

Every employer is bound to abide by the termination terms and conditions stated in a formal employment contract. It the contract contains certain restrictions for terminating employment or requires the employer to follow a standard process or disciplinary procedure, these requisites cannot be ignored or overridden.  If an employee is fired against the method outlined in the agreement or policy, it would be perceived as bad faith or deceit, and the employer can be sued for breach of contract.


Nowadays, most employers support principles of workplace diversity by recruiting individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Nonetheless, racism and bigotry still prevail, and minorities have a hard time fitting in an opinionated society.  Sadly, many people are stereotyped, bullied, and the subject of differential treatment because of their skin color, culture, origin, religious beliefs, marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation, some physical or mental disability, or another corporeal characteristic. By law, employers are required to treat all employees as equals and any judgments should be based on their performance at work alone.

Retaliation or Retribution for Whistleblowing

Sometimes, employers fire workers who are determined to fight for their rights and justice. If an employee is laid off for filing a legit complaint with HR or asking for employment benefits they are entitled to, it is referred to as retaliation. Someone who reports criminal or unauthorized activities conducted at the workplace or does the right thing by testifying against the company during trial, is called a whistleblower.  Some employers take revenge by firing and defaming the whistleblower, which is illegal.

Violation of Public Policy

Some governments accept at-will employment exclusions based on public policy. This implies that an employer is prohibited from firing an employee over a cause that defies the public interest, despite the absence of an unambiguous legal violation. For instance, an employer cannot fire you for becoming permanently incapacitated due to a workplace accident, voting for a person of choice, serving in military, participating as a juror, utilizing all paid leaves, or disclosing your salary to co-workers.

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