What do employment lawyers do?

Good employment lawyers help people with work issues. Some employment lawyers create problems. Others solve them. If you want a problem solver on your side we might be a good fit.

Did you lose your job? Has your employer asked you to sign a severance agreement?

Were you discriminated or sexually harassed on the job? Was the employment discrimination so pervasive that you worked in a hostile workplace? Have you reported it and it just won’t stop?

Or maybe you took another job and received a “cease and desist” letter. Maybe you forgot about the non-compete or non-solicitation agreement you signed to work for your prior employer.

None of the above necessarily involve litigation. But they could.

Jonas Urba is not afraid to litigate. But litigation or threatening employment litigation is not always the best option. We take “baby steps.” What’s the saying “speak softly and carry a big stick”? That’s what many employment lawyers do. Foolishness occurs when a person brings out the big stick (i.e. a federal lawsuit) when key facts have not been flushed out.

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.

Federal court litigation is often an option. But lots happens before we go down that road. Filing EEOC charges or a Division of Human Rights Complaint is usually not the first option unless you risk missing a deadline.

Discrimination does happen. But hostile workplaces are less common. Unpaid overtime occurs. Most agreements are negotiable to a point. Rushing to file is rarely the goal.

Whether your issue concerns a hostile workplace, unpaid overtime, or reviewing or negotiating a severance agreement or a non-compete or non-solicitation issue with your former employer, we want to help.

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.

Employment law is all about the facts. Make sure the employment lawyers you are speaking with are asking you tough questions. If not, you may be speaking with the wrong employment attorneys.

If you speak with employment lawyers who do not ask you questions which you might not want to answer then you may be speaking to the wrong employment attorneys. We will ask you for the good and the bad. Litigation preparation usually flushes it all out anyway. And switching lawyers is rarely easy. If you decide to switch employment lawyers you will probably owe the first law firm money, even on a contingent fee basis, if you settle or recover money with another law firm.

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:  https://www.urbanylaw.com/new-york-employment-law-914-366-7366/client-reviews/

Your consultation options

The firm is based in Westchester County. However, more and more clients choose to retain Urba Law PLLC remotely. It starts with a no charge telephone consultation with you. After that free phone conference, potential clients more regularly retain Urba Law PLLC remotely. You may be situated across the state and need help with a severance issue, a non-complete, or even a hostile workplace issue. With technology today, Urba Law PLLC tries to help statewide in New York if your facts or issues are strong.

Many matters can be handled remotely with high speed scanners, PDF files, and electronic funds transfers. When necessary, at the firm’s sole discretion in agreement with you, conferences may occur in Midtown Manhattan, Albany, Buffalo, or Rochester.

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.

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.

Litigation, Mediation, Arbitration

Federal court lawsuits are generally lengthy. They can last many years. They are expensive. Regardless of who wins the other side can appeal.

Employment law dispute mediation sometimes works. 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. But no one can force your employer to do so. Your facts need to be strong up front.

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 including appeals.

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 discrimination “because of sex”. Other types of discrimination usually require that an employer employ four (4) or more 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.

Can telling someone to go back to the country they came from be discriminatory? Federal courts are likely to say “yes”.

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/new-york-employment-law-914-366-7366/about-contact/ 

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