What the firm does

All we do is employment law. Whether your issue concerns trade secrets such as client lists, professional employment contracts, employment discrimination claims, sexual harassment or wage and hour issues we handle it. Negotiation, mediation, and federal court litigation.

Jonas has practiced law for 30 years. 20 of them have been employment law focused. We welcome employees and small employers covered by New York City’s more expansive Human Rights Law. That law covers all 5 City Boroughs.

Who we serve

Based in the Hudson Valley, we serve all of New York State. Our clients are mostly employees and former employees. We also represent small employers on employment matters.

We help employees keep their jobs. It’s a big part of our work. Early intervention is key for doing that. Employees who call as soon as they sense potential trouble usually do best. A performance improvement plan (PIP) or corrective action plan (CAP) are sure signs to start calling employment lawyers.

Warning signs

Be on the lookout for corporate mergers and buyouts. Changes in management often trigger reductions in force. And it’s not uncommon for concerns with employee performance to precede RIFs.

Only in New York do employees often work for the same employer for decades. These employees have no recent job application experience. Reductions in force place them at a huge disadvantage. Long-term employees are sometimes lulled into false senses of job security. Many are caught totally off guard during RIFs. Even New York’s WARN Act does little to console those forced to leave their jobs.

No one’s job or career is everlasting. Preparation and ongoing skills refinement are key. And employment lawyers can sometimes help.

Reporting to a new manager is stressful for many.

Adapting to new policies and procedures compounds that challenge. And working with new teams demands flexibility.

Many employees are surprised to learn that the Master Servant Doctrine is very much alive in common law states; New York being one.

Consulting with employment lawyers at the first sign of friction can help. Especially if you are placed on a PIP or corrective plan. PIPs, final warnings, corrective action plans

Jonas focuses on:

Jonas Urba’s experience

As a law student, Jonas Urba worked for a law firm which represented injured employees. He enjoyed helping people. That made state civil service a natural fit. He was the “go to” lawyer for the human resources department of a 2,000 employee regulatory agency. That launched a great employment law career!

Representing the employer or management side for 7 years motivated him to go out on his own. Jonas has owned law firms for a combined total of about 17 years. He loves practicing law this way. He also has experience as in house counsel for a professional employer organization where he regularly conducted internal investigations concerning sexual harassment and oversaw employee disciplinary actions.

He’s represented hundreds of wage and hour plaintiffs, disabled employees, sexually harassed professionals, discriminated workers, and union and civil service employees who have unlawfully lost their jobs.

Jonas is committed to serving LGBT clients with extensive experience in that area. Although he maintains an inactive license to practice law in Massachusetts, Jonas’ law practice is limited to employment law issues governed by New York state and local and federal laws.

Client reviews include the following:  https://www.urbanylaw.com/client-reviews/

Consultation options

Urba Law PLLC has been based in Westchester County since 2014. It serves all of New York State including upstate and western New York.

Jonas personally screens legal matters. He may meet potential clients in:

Tarrytown or

Manhattan (Midtown) or

Albany, Syracuse, Rochester or Buffalo (limited potential client matters).

Jonas is admitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. https://www.urbanylaw.com/proud-of-our-2nd-circuit-coa/ He is also admitted to  the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. All federal court case filings are done electronically. The overwhelming majority of client correspondence is also handled electronically. No faxes and limited USPS mailing from 520 White Plains Rd., Suite 500, Tarrytown, New York 10591!

Why Employment Law Reality Check

Employment law is all about reality. Without strong, verified facts, employment law claims fail.

Wrongful termination is highly misunderstood. In order for a termination to be legally actionable it has to be a broken contract or agreement. Or it has to be unlawful or illegal because of a federal, state, or local law. It might be tort action as well? But wrongful in the sense of what a potential client or an employment lawyer might feel or believe should be wrong does not exist.

Terminations are either lawful or they are not. Employees have to prove that their terminations broke contracts or were against the law. Some employees are covered by private contracts. Others by collective bargaining agreements. We examine the contract language and look for broken promises. We analyze the facts to determine whether there was employment discrimination. Even if we all agree that a termination was wrong, was it unlawful or illegal? The reality is that only unlawful or illegal terminations are actionable.

The purpose of the reality check is to help potential clients, as well as attorneys who do not focus on employment law, understand that proving an illegal or unlawful employment environment or an employment action is challenging even for experienced counselors. It’s a public service message brought to the public with short video clips on YouTube at Employment Law Reality Check.

Categories of Unlawful Actions

There are generally two categories of clients which Urba Law PLLC represents.

One group is discriminated employees. Discrimination results from being disabled or regarded as disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal Rehabilitation  Act, and state human rights laws apply. For those working in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, or Staten Island the City Human Rights Law applies as well. Employees belonging to one or more protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title VII are also protected.

Another group are employees who have suffered economic or wage loss damages plus possible penalties, interest, and fees. The Fair Labor Standards Act and state labor laws protect these employees. Others might be accused of taking trade secrets or breaking non-compete or non-solicitation agreements. The recently passed Defend Trade Secrets Act might apply. Private breach of employment contract actions are also possible. Barring negotiation, most other disputes are litigated, mediated, or go to arbitration.

Litigation, Mediation, Arbitration

Federal court employment law litigation often lasts years. Being in federal court is expensive. Regardless of who wins the other side can appeal.

Employment dispute mediation can work. But it’s not guaranteed. It takes the cooperation of both sides. And it requires an experienced employment law mediator to make it effective.

Arbitration is not the first choice of most employees. But those who have agreed to it have little choice. The process is faster than litigation but the results are never certain. There are no juries. An arbitrator or a panel listens to testimony, accepts evidence and makes a decision which is usually final.

A better choice is to negotiate following either a well drafted complaint, demand letter, or both.

Demand Letters

A typical employment law claim might include the following:

  • Serving a demand letter on an employer
  • Attempting to negotiate (no employer can be forced to settle)
  • Filing charges with the EEOC, the New York State Division of Human Rights, or New York City’s Commission on Human Rights
  • Requesting a NORTS letter
  • Filing a federal complaint
  • Responding to motions
  • Conducting discovery
  • Trying the case
  • Responding to post trial motions.

The process takes time. Early resolution is often a good idea. Although that is not always an option for specified government, union, education, and health care employees.

“At will” v. Government, Union or Contract Employees

Most employees are protected from employment discrimination. New York State now protects even sole employees from sexual harassment. Other discrimination usually requires 4 employees under state laws or 15 employees under federal laws. There are always exceptions.

Employees with private contracts of employment can rely on the terms of their signed agreements for protection; assuming those documents were properly drafted and/or reviewed by legal counsel.

Employees who work collectively or together sometimes have unions. Those unions negotiate agreements which cover everyone. They are collective bargaining agreements. Every member of the union relies on the same agreement for some job protection.

Historically, the most protected employees worked for the government and were members of unions. This might be one reason why so many viewed them with envy.

The reality check is that employees who are not civil servants, union members, or under private employment contracts can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.

Employers who manufacture false reasons for terminating employees sometimes need to defend claims of pretext to avoid being liable for discrimination.

What is pretext related to employment discrimination?

Pretext is a made up reason. Not a fake fact. It’s a lie; not the real or actual reason for an adverse employment action.

Employment lawyers have to prove actual motivations. Sometimes they do so with evidence which shows that stated reasons were not true. This is showing pretext. But an employee must still prove the elements of whatever discrimination theory the employee is pursuing. An employer’s lies by themselves don’t count.

V. Jonas Urba, a New York employment lawyer, serves the entire state. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Not legal advice. Call (914) 366-7366 to speak with an actual attorney about your employment law issue.https://www.urbanylaw.com/about-contact/ 

Urba Law PLLC, 520 White Plains Rd., Ste. 500, Tarrytown, NY 10591