What Does “At-Will” Employment Mean for NYC Workers?

at-will employee unfairly fired

Getting fired is something that many people have nightmares about, as it can leave them financially unstable and struggling to make ends meet. New York, however, can fire an employee within a moment’s notice with no reason given. This shocks many, as they are unaware of this policy before accepting a new job. You’ll want to keep reading if you were fired for discriminatory or illegal reasons and believe that “at-will” employment was an excuse. You’ll learn more about at-will employment and how a New York City wrongful termination lawyer can help if you believe you were fired for discriminator reasons.

What Is At-Will Employment?

At-will employment is the legal right of an employer to terminate an employee for any reason without notice. Employers do not have to provide a reason or justification for the firing, just that the employee is no longer employed.

This differs from just cause, which happens when an employer has a good reason to fire the employee, such as poor performance, creating a hostile environment, or getting into criminal trouble outside of work.

It’s important to note that this at-will employment means that employees can leave their jobs without notice or cause as well. It gives both management and staff the right to terminate their working relationship without providing notice or reason.

What Should I Do if I Believe I Was Falsely Terminated?

While at-will employment protects the rights of employers to terminate the working relationship with an employer for almost any reason, it does not mean that an employer can commit illegal activities when firing an employee. This includes breaching a contract or fair dealing, violating public policy, discrimination against protected classes,  retaliation, or defamation.

Employees who have signed employment contracts cannot be terminated unless there are specific terms in their agreement detailing the duration of the job or reasons they may be fired. If a contract specifies that an employer will hire a worker for at least three years but fires them two years into their time working for the company without cause, they are entitled to the final year’s pay.

It’s also important to note that labor union employees are members of collective bargaining agreements and cannot be subject to at-will employment terms. These workers can only be terminated if they violate causes listed in their agreement.

If you believe you were fired due to discrimination, retaliation, defamation, or breach of contract, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. This is wrongful termination, and you do not have to accept it as a part of life. At the Mirza Law Firm, our dedicated legal team can help you get the justice you deserve at the hands of employers. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.