Litigation, arbitration, and mediation.

Urba Law PLLC aka the Urba Law Firm handles:

  1. Employment discrimination claims
  2. Unpaid wage claims including misclassified salaried
  3. Employment agreements (severance, non-compete, non-solicitation)

Employment issues, whether discrimination, unpaid wages, or contractual, can get complex fast. It’s a great reason for law firms to focus. Focus on what they do best. Your employment law matter will get better or get worse. How it’s handled from the start is key. Informal resolution is preferred by many. But some matters demand immediate action in:

A. New York Federal District Courts

B. New York Administrative Courts statewide

C. New York Mediation and Arbitration statewide

Most clients are employees or former employees. Small employers who need immediate help are always welcome. Law firms will ask you who you work or worked for. We need to determine potential conflicts of interest up front and do. We never disclose that you are a client unless you retain us and authorize such disclosure. Occasionally, we have a potential conflict of interest. In the unlikely event that you contact an employment law firm which represents your employer or former employer the law firm must state “we have a conflict of interest or potential conflict” and stop. Your employer or former employer would never know that you reached out to any law firm. Your attempted communication is confidential and all law firms should keep it that way. We can’t disclose your attempt to obtain legal help and never do unless by agreement.

Most lawyers and judges are flexible enough to analyze and argue both sides (how would an employee prove their claim and how would an employer defend against that employee’s allegations) when needed. An employment lawyer unable to do that misses holes in claims. And missed holes lead to miscommunications. And miscommunications can create unrealistic expectations. Urba Law PLLC strives to view claims from both sides, communicates clearly, and does whatever it can to minimize potential disappointments; inevitable with litigation.

Maybe all you want is “reasonable severance” from your former employer. Is such an expectation reasonable?

Let’s do a quick analysis which is part of every employment law claim. Firstly, no New York, private employer owes any “at will” employee severance pay. No New York Labor Law requires any private employer to pay anyone severance of any kind. Some employees insist that the employer’s handbook guarantees such pay. But those handbooks almost always state that they are subject to change with or without notice. Most handbooks include language that no contracts are created by their language. Employees sometimes argue that their signatures, acknowledging receipt of handbooks, created employment contracts in spite of language stating that “at will” employment relationships would not be altered. Rarely, if ever, does an employment handbook create an enforceable employment agreement. The handbook creates policies which, if followed, can support arguments that either side complied with its duties or obligations as printed within handbooks. Laws and legal requirements change. It’s not uncommon to see employee handbooks which have not been updated for years or which refer to legal requirements which have been amended.

Employer policies are subject to change. Sometimes without notice and verbally. Black’s Law Dictionary (Fifth Edition) defines “reasonable” as “fair, proper, just, moderate, suitable under the circumstances.” Employment lawyers conduct legal research before giving opinions on whether a proposed action is reasonable or not regardless of which side they represent.

Several months ago a potential client remarked: “but that’s gonna be really hard to prove.” Employment discrimination is rarely easy to prove. Title VII covers the broadest classes of protected employees. In New York, employers are prohibited from making employment decisions motivated by an employee’s membership within one or more protected classes including:

  1. Race
  2. Sex, gender, sexual orientation, sex stereotyping, sexual harassment
  3. Religion, religious accommodation
  4. National Origin or Color
  5. Pregnancy Discrimination
  6. Hostile Work Environment if motivated by an employee’s protected class membership
  7. Disability or Perceived Disability and others.

Most of us have seen or experienced conduct which looks like discrimination at work. Our judicial bodies, whether federal judges or administrative law judges, limit claims to ones where actionable discriminatory conduct occurred. If they did not, no workplace would be able to function; defending uncivil workplace claims. “Title VII is not a general civility code.” Courts incorporate that sentence from our U.S. Supreme Court regularly.

V. Jonas Urba has held positions in higher education, health care, sales, manufacturing, retail, fitness, and other industries. He has run his own law firms for more than twenty (20) years and has worked as in-house counsel and for a number of small, medium and even a large law firm.

Jonas Urba is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association in New York. He owns Urba Law PLLC in Westchester.
V. Jonas Urba, Esq., over 20 years of employment law experience nationwide

We will talk with you. We need to get to know you a bit. This is all we do. A few minutes on the phone is often priceless. We will tell you what we think and we will help you see why we need to know the secrets. Because we can’t tell anyone your secrets! Ever! Unless you authorize us to do so.

We serve all of New York.

You might be here in Westchester County or Midtown New York City or in Albany, Buffalo, or Rochester. If we can’t help you we will try to direct you to a professional or an organization who can.

Discrimination or Retaliation?

Lately, many calls are coming from employees whose supervisors are making their lives miserable. That is not necessarily illegal or improper.

We might ask you about your performance evaluations. How do they look?Do you have a history of adequate or above average performance?

If not, do you have a new manager or supervisor? Employers are allowed to change performance criteria and what they expect from employees. They may not discriminate against one or more protected classes of employees when doing so.

What protected classes of employees do you belong to? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act lists most of the classes as does the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal, state, and local laws.

Are you being retaliated against because you complained of discrimination at work? You don’t need to know the precise legal theory for discrimination but you generally have to tell your employer enough facts that it should recognize race, religion, national origin, gender, or other types of potential discrimination. Remember that your best discrimination theory might not be one you or even your lawyer immediately recognized. Sometimes it takes hours of investigation before you uncover what your employer’s true motivation was for doing what it did.

Be careful when complaining about discrimination if you have already been placed on notice of performance issues [unless job performance was a non-issue but for the protected class(es) to which you belong]. Trying to use a discrimination complaint in defense of performance issues can backfire. Your employer has every right to discipline you for a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason regardless of whether or not you complained. Unless other members of the class or classes to which you belong received similarly bad treatment, which non-members did not, start gathering your documentary evidence and witness contact information now.

Retaliation can occur after discrimination is reported; rarely after poor performance is noted.

Warning signs for employees

Be on the lookout for corporate mergers and buyouts. Changes in management often trigger reductions in force. If you have always performed well and are suddenly rated lower for no apparent reason that could be a sign of a coming reduction in force (RIF).

Many New Yorkers work for the same employer for decades. That’s unusual for the USA. If that’s you, being out of the job search market for years may present challenges which you should prepare for as soon as possible.

The common law is good law in New York State. Faithless Servant Doctrine, Master Servant Doctrine, and Duty of Loyalty to your employer are required by all. We are surprised by how many employees, and even lawyers, are to discover this. You read that correctly. Lawyers who do not focus on or limit their practices to employment law may not know this. We handle no other areas of law because we know very little about those areas of law.

A very common scenario is new management takes over. The new supervisors or managers are super demanding. Employees who have been with the organization for years object. New management digs in. You may be one of those long term employees and you might be surprised to learn that objecting to higher performance standards could be a breach of your duty of loyalty to your employer. Your objections might even rise to insubordination, depending on your facts. As you can imagine, bad things might happen to those who challenge new management.

Urba Law PLLC focuses on:

Urba Law PLLC legal experience

V. Jonas Urba has more than twenty (20) years experience in employment law. He defended human resources, insurance carriers and a professional employer organization, totaling eight (8) years on the defense side.

He represents mostly employees and has done so for twelve (12) years. Experience on both sides gives Jonas the ability to see both sides.

Jonas is somewhat unique in that he himself has worked in many industries. Jonas has direct experience in sales, health care, education, government, retail, and manufacturing. As a lawyer, Jonas has conducted internal investigations of hostile workplaces. He was a designated hearing officer, swore witnesses, heard testimony, and accepted evidence; then made recommended decisions on regulatory matters. Jonas often provides advice and counsel on non-compete and non-solicitation matters and drafts documents including policies and procedures (employee handbooks) for small businesses.

He has represented hundreds of employees, employers, and insurance carriers across the country.

Client reviews include the following:

Why Employment Law Reality Check?

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

Wrongful termination is highly misunderstood.

Wrongful termination means illegal or unlawful termination. That usually requires a broken contract or evidence to support employment discrimination which can include a hostile workplace.

Most employees are “at will”. They can be terminated for no reason. And most can quit for no reason. Generally, notice is not required. Nor does the

Employees with contracts have more rights. An individual employment contract protects one employee. A collective bargaining agreement or union contract protects all members of that union in the same way.

Government employees are often ones with the most protection.

Many employment terminations are not fair. But unfairness is not illegal.

Others are fired for bad reasons. But firing for bad reasons is not illegal. The termination must be for an unlawful reason or reasons to be actionable in most cases.

Reality check was created to help the public (including attorneys who do not limit their practices to employment law) understand these realities. And to encourage anyone facing an employment dispute to call employment lawyers. Many if necessary. And then retain one if the facts support doing so.

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 three (3) categories of clients which Urba Law PLLC represents.

One group is discriminated employees. Discrimination often includes working in a hostile workplace or for a manager who acts in a hostile manner. Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Laws plus the ADA, FRA, ADEA, PDA, and other human rights laws might apply.

Another group are employees who have not been paid for all work performed. Often these employees have unpaid overtime claims. They may accrue under New York’s wage laws or the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The final group have written document issues. It might be negotiating a severance agreement’s terms, a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement, trade secrets or concern an employee handbook for an employer.

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