Terminating a worker’s employment is never easy. In the best-case scenario, you and the employee will make a relatively amicable break and go your separate ways. Sometimes, however, firing someone opens your company to allegations of wrongful termination. Our attorneys defend employers against these claims, and we work to prevent them from arising in the first place. That’s the level of dedication you can expect from the New York business litigation attorneys of Rosenbaum & Taylor.
Most employment relationships in New York are considered at will. That means an employer can terminate an employee for nearly any reason, even an arbitrary one. As we all know, of course, there are limits to this. An employer can generally fire someone for any reason, unless:
- The termination invokes local, state, or federal anti-discrimination laws. Termination on the basis of race, sex, gender, age, national origin, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, and marital status is illegal. New York City has additional protections based on gender identity, veteran status, and more.
- There is an employment contract that prevents it. Written and implied contracts often protect employees from being terminated except under certain limited conditions.
Wrongful termination falls into one of the above categories. It opens the door for your company to be sued and therefore to lose significant sums of money. It also costs your company in terms of negative publicity and a damaged reputation.
These lawsuits depend heavily on the facts and evidence in each case. If your company is sued, you can expect lengthy discovery aimed at uncovering that evidence. Discovery is the process by which relevant information is obtained by one or both parties. For example, the plaintiff may demand a copy of all internal emails concerning his or her employment performance. In turn, the defendant can also serve discovery requests on the defendant. These requests also include things like depositions and subpoenas for certain records.
During the case, our attorneys will compile and review all relevant evidence. If pretrial motions (e.g. a motion to dismiss) are appropriate, we will pursue those. We understand the New York business and employment law and know how to defend the company’s rights in court.
The vast majority of these cases settle outside of court. That’s because taking a case to trial is exceedingly expensive, time-consuming, and damaging to a company’s reputation. Some settlements prevent the parties from revealing certain details such as the amount of compensation the plaintiff receives. Our attorneys can help with all aspects of a wrongful termination lawsuit, from the complaint to the settlement or trial.
However, it would be better to limit the occurrence of such lawsuits altogether. These are some strategies that can reduce the likelihood your company will face a claim of wrongful termination:
Developing clear and comprehensive workplace policies. There are many legal reasons to fire an employee, but your workers should understand what sort of conduct is unacceptable. Your organization needs an employee handbook that spells out these policies. Your employees should also agree in writing that they understand and will abide by these rules.
Training your company’s leadership. Managers, supervisors, executives, and others in leadership roles should know the business policies that apply to employees. They should also understand how to properly enforce, discipline, and, if necessary, terminate employees who don’t follow the rules.
Creating a paper trail. Part of the enforcement, discipline, and termination processes is creating a paper trail of actions taken against employees. Employee violations often form the basis of completely lawful and legitimate terminations. But those violations and the disciplinary actions are taken, should be thoroughly documented.
If Your Company Is Facing Legal Action Trust Rosenbaum & Taylor
Wrongful termination lawsuits jeopardize your company’s bottom line and expend precious resources that your business needs. The only proper response to an accusation of wrongful termination is to take swift action. But with the right policies and guidance, you can help protect your organization from these and other lawsuits. Trust the New York business litigation attorneys of Rosenbaum & Taylor. We have your back and will fight to protect your company’s good name. Call us today to schedule a consultation with our experienced and dedicated team.