Urba Law PLLC serves all of New York State limited to employment law issues. Call (212) 731-4776 statewide for:

  1. Litigating and negotiating employment discrimination claims,
  2. Reviewing and drafting severance and employment law contracts,
  3. Filing federal lawsuits across New York State to recover unpaid overtime.

Employment law requires an evaluation of damages. Both employees and lawyers want to know how much an illegal employment termination might be worth. The video below touches on issues which most employment law litigators think about from a potential client’s first call. Damages begin as an educated guess. With time, as more facts are gathered, that educated guess goes up or down. It almost never stays the same.

Discrimination damages take time to calculate. There is no formula for severance pay.

Many terminations are wrongful. Only unlawful or illegal ones result in potential damages which a court might award. Damages require facts. Gathering facts demands time, skill, and commitment.

Although damages are very important, most of us think about a lot more as we talk with you the first time. Regardless of whether litigation is right for you, taking any case on a contingent fee agreement requires preparing your case as if it will go to trial from day one. Your philosophy and ours have to fit. Here’s where I start:

  1. Who is or was your employer? Have I ever represented your employer in the past? If yes, ethics rules require that I share that with you. Our phone conference will end at that point. This is one reason employees from hundreds of miles away call me. They want not only an experienced employment law litigator, they often want one with limited local contacts.
  2. Assuming that there is no potential conflict, I want to know about your employer. How many employees do they have, how long have they been around, and are they profitable? This information is important for potential litigation. Some litigation is unavoidable. Will your employer be able to pay and will they pay if a court orders them to do so? Some industries are notorious for not paying.
  3. The third area takes the most time. Who are you, my potential client? If your facts point to a violation of an employment law (i.e. usually workplace discrimination) will you and I be able to work together, possibly for a long time? Employment law cases can take years to conclude. Will we be a good fit? I am thinking this while we talk so you should do the same from the first phone call.

This brings me to my next point. Contact forms and phone calls beat texts and social media. Think of all the text, email, and social media spam out there. It might work for personal injury, criminal defense, divorce, bankruptcy, or estate planning. My employment law videos include the following for the importance of calling employment lawyers:

Nothing beats phone calls for employment law matters which are unlike other areas of law.

I explain the difference between hostile workplaces and workplaces with discrimination during many phone conferences. Here’s a simple way to tell the difference.

  1. All hostile workplaces include employment discrimination. There is at least one protected class of employee being discriminated in every hostile workplace. An unfriendly or mean workplace, by itself, is not a hostile one for purposes of employment law.
  2. Some workplaces which discriminate are also hostile workplaces.

I need to know which protected class or classes of employees are being treated less well than other employees are treated. A protected class can be a class of one for a particular employer.

Title VII protects employees from discrimination at work because of their race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. The ADA protects those with disabilities or perceived as disabled. State and city laws are more expansive. Many employment lawyers were thrilled when changes to New York’s Executive Law made it easier to prove employment discrimination as I discuss here:

Now easier to prove employment discrimination statewide in New York.

Even employees who can not prove employment discrimination can sometimes recover unpaid overtime. A few points to keep in mind are:

  1. Employees who are paid by the hour are entitled to overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in an established workweek.
  2. Even some salaried employees, earning less than $107,432, may be owed overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week, depending on what their actual job duties are or were. Up to 6 years back in New York.

We try to resolve wage claims out of court. But in most cases employers want to see proof that we have done our homework. A lawsuit filed in federal court usually works. I am admitted to practice in all federal district courts across New York State. Another of my employment law videos, below, reference some signs for employees owed unpaid overtime.

Many employers want us to show them that we did our homework. Federal lawsuits work.

Many claims and lawsuits are eventually resolved or settled unless dismissed. I still see a lot of confusion about employment contracts, agreements, waivers, and releases. Here’s the basic difference.

  1. Severance agreements, waivers, and general releases are generally permanent and designed so that an employee accepts X dollars. The payment itself and the amount shall never be disclosed to others except in strict confidence. The employee promises to never say a bad thing about the employer. The employee also agrees to never re-apply for another job with the employer or its affiliates.
  2. Employment agreements or contracts for specific terms of employment are generally not permanent. They specify dates of employment from X to Y or “for life” or with evergreen clauses which automatically renew, or for some other specific term. Not “at will” which means the employer can terminate employment at any time for no reason. The clauses incorporated within these agreements, including non-compete and non-solicitation, can extend beyond the term of employment. Confidentiality of trade secrets is usually forever.

No one should sign a severance, employment, or other agreement without consulting an employment lawyer as I discuss in the following video.

Employment agreements, non-competes, … are contracts. Employer handbooks are not.

My YouTube channel is called Employment Law Reality Check and it includes over 40 videos. I began representing clients statewide in New York several years ago. Then in 2018 I began making videos of the most common questions I was asked. I always suggest calling many employment lawyers before retaining one. Here’s the link to all of my YouTube videos:


Urba Law PLLC, 200 Park Ave., Suite 1700, New York, NY 10166

(212) 731-4776 – Initial phone conferences are no charge.


Race discrimination rises as EEOC shrinks

Employment Law Blog

The Glory Days of Public Service – from the Westchester Lawyer Magazine, May 2019

Contact Form NY Statewide

Wage and Hour Claims