Every employment lawyer knows that most employees are “at will.” At will employees can quit for no reason. And their employers can fire them for no reason. Although they don’t have to, most employers tell employees why they are being fired or being demoted. Government, union, and private contract employees have to be given some notice or reason. “At will” employees can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.

Although employers usually know why they are firing or demoting employees they don’t always tell the truth. And when they don’t, employees challenge them. An employment lawyer will dig for the truth.

What was an employer’s true motivation to fire or demote an employee? And how might an employee prove that an employer’s true or real reason was not the one it told the employee? Was an employer’s reason fabricated, unlawful, or both? Fabricated reasons and unlawful terminations are usually against the law. Wrongful terminations, by definition, do not exist.

If your employer made up a reason to fire or demote you or violated one or more of these laws an employment lawyer can help you prove workplace discrimination.

  1. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
  2. Federal Rehabilitation Act (FRA)?
  3. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
  4. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)?
  5. Equal Pay Act (EPA)?
  6. Civil Rights Act #Me Too, sex, or gender discrimination (Title VII)?
  7. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or New York Labor Law wage and hour or unpaid wage claims?
  8. Classified salaried instead of hourly and denied overtime pay (FLSA)?
  9. Served a cease and desist letter to protect trade secrets, confidential information, or not to compete with your prior employer (DTSA)?
  10. Offered a severance package you need reviewed or re-negotiated (agreement, employment separation, waiver, release)?

We handle most employment law matters throughout New York State. This includes litigating in United States District Courts in New York. We also represent employees at arbitration and mediation proceedings. We represent clients at administrative hearings. We also coach and counsel employees throughout New York State who need help with their supervisors or as supervisors. We negotiate severance agreements for employees and small employers. Sometimes we will enter an appearance on behalf of a client for a limited engagement or specific proceeding.

The most common thing we hear is that some employment action was wrong. Wrong actions are often not illegal. And only illegal employment actions may be pursued in court. In order to do so the plaintiff or charging party has to allege sufficient facts that some employment action was against the law. Only then will a judge, jury or arbitrator decide whether enough circumstantial evidence supports an illegal employment action.

Circumstantial evidence is a fancy word for complicated. It can include e-mails, texts, letters, phone conferences, sworn statements or affidavits, testimony, lab results, statistical data, historical data, demographic data, personnel records, salary history, medical evidence, and the list goes on.

Employees must gather enough evidence to draft a plausible theory of recovery. That’s more than a strong hunch, a good guess or a likely possibility. Whether you are a lawyer or a pro se employee, never file a complaint without that plausible theory in mind. Best policy, retain an employment lawyer before filing charges or complaints anywhere, unless you risk missing a filing deadline. Otherwise you run a very real risk of dismissal. 

V. Jonas Urba, a New York employment lawyer, serves the entire state. Call (914) 366-7366 to speak with an actual attorney about your employment law issue. Employment law is all we do.