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Legal Obligations of New York Employers When Terminating Employees

new york employee termination laws

Getting terminated from your job is a sad but inevitable part of your employment journey. It can affect your sense of stability and identity and leave you with a feeling of uncertainty about your professional future.

Employers in New York are required to comply with a wide range of federal, state, and local laws when terminating employees. If you are terminated unlawfully, you have the right to take legal action against your employer.

At Levine & Blit, we have extensive experience in handling wrongful termination claims and are committed to fighting tirelessly to protect your rights. Whether you have been let go due to discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract, we can hold your employer accountable and make sure you are fairly compensated for your losses.

Call us today at 646-461-6838 to schedule a free evaluation with an experienced New York wrongful termination lawyer at our firm.

👉Also Read: Demystifying Wrongful Termination Lawsuit: How Employment Lawyers Build Strong Cases

Wrongful Termination in New York – What You Need to Know

Wrongful termination occurs when an employment relationship is terminated in violation of an employment contract or a collective bargaining agreement or in violation of federal or state employment law.

It’s vital to note that being terminated unfairly or unjustly does not necessarily constitute wrongful termination. With New York being an at-will employment state, your employer does not need a valid or just reason to terminate you. They have the authority to fire you at any time for any reason or without any reason whatsoever.

Your termination can be considered wrongful or unlawful only if it involves contractual or employment law violations.

The circumstances under which your termination can be considered wrongful or unlawful include:

Discrimination: Terminating you due to your race, gender, age, disability, national origin, religion, marital status, or any other protected characteristic covered under New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL).

Retaliation: Terminating you in retaliation for exercising your legal rights like filing workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, or wage and hour violation complaints, participating in or assisting with workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, or wage and hour violation investigations, or filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Breach of Contract: Terminating you in violation of the terms of your employment contract (either written or implied) or collective bargaining agreement.

Violation of Whistleblower Protections: Terminating you for reporting illegal activities or violations of state or federal law within your organization.

What Are the Laws that Govern Employee Termination in New York?

In New York, wrongful termination is governed by a combination of federal, state, and local laws. These include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Prohibits wrongful termination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Prohibits wrongful termination of qualified employees with mental or physical impairments.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): Prohibits wrongful termination of qualified employees who are 40 years of age or older.
  • New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL): Prohibits wrongful termination based on race, age, gender, sexual orientation, military status, and several other protected characteristics.
  • New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL): Prohibits wrongful termination based on an even broader range of protected characteristics compared to the NYSHRL.
  • New York Labor Law: Sections 740 and 741 of New York labor law prohibit any kind of retaliation – including wrongful termination – against whistleblowers for reporting unlawful activities at work.

Notice Period Requirements for Terminating Employees in New York

In New York, notice period requirements for terminating employees depend on the terms of the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement in place or company policies.

Employment Contracts: If an employment contract is in place, it might include notice period requirements for termination. If so, your employer needs to abide by the terms when terminating you.

Collective Bargaining Agreements: If you are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, it might include provisions regarding notice periods for termination. In that case, your employer is required to comply with the notice period provisions when terminating you.

New York State Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (NYS WARN) Act: The NYS WARN Act requires employers in New York to provide 90 days’ notice to employees in the event of a mass layoff, relocation, or plant closing.

👉Also read: How To Find A Wrongful Termination Attorney

How Our New York Employment Law Attorneys Can Help You with Your Wrongful Termination Case

Legal Assessment

We can review the circumstances surrounding your termination process to determine whether it can be considered wrongful under federal or state labor law. We can review all the relevant documents including your employment contract, collective bargaining agreement, company policy, personnel records, and termination letter to determine the laws or contractual provisions that your employer violated when they terminated you.

Evidence Gathering

We can gather the evidence needed to support your claim of unlawful termination and build a strong case against your employer. This might include employment contracts, offer letters, performance evaluations, disciplinary records, evidence of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, witness statements, emails, memos, and other written communications between you and your employer.


We can negotiate with your employer or their legal representative to seek a favorable resolution for you. This might involve negotiating a settlement agreement that provides compensation for the losses you have suffered and emotional distress as well as reinstatement and other forms of relief.

Administrative Remedies

If needed, we can help you file a complaint with the New York Division of Human Rights or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


If our efforts to resolve the dispute informally or through administrative channels are unsuccessful, we can file a lawsuit against your employer on your behalf in state or federal court. We can represent you at every step of the litigation process and fight hard to obtain the compensation and other benefits you deserve.

Damages and Benefits Our New York Employment Lawyers Can Recover For You in a Wrongful Termination Claim

In a wrongful termination claim in New York, the types of compensation and benefits that a terminated employee can seek can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the laws or contractual provisions violated, and the remedies available under applicable federal, state, and local laws. Here are some common types of compensation and benefits that we can recover for you in a wrongful termination claim.

Back Pay: This includes compensation for wages and benefits that you would have earned from the date of termination to the present if you had not been wrongfully terminated. Back pay might include salary, bonuses, commissions, overtime pay, and other forms of compensation.

Reinstatement: Depending on the circumstances, the court might order your employer to reinstate you to your former position or a substantially equivalent position. Reinstatement restores you to your pre-termination status and might include restoration of seniority, benefits, and other employment rights.

Front Pay: If reinstatement is not feasible or appropriate, we might seek front pay from your employer to compensate you for future lost wages and benefits that you would have earned if you had not been wrongfully terminated.

Compensatory Damages: These damages are intended to compensate you for the emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other non-economic harm that you suffered as a result of the wrongful termination.

Punitive Damages: If your termination involved particularly egregious or willful misconduct by your employer, we might seek punitive damages to punish them and deter similar conduct in the future.

Equitable Relief: Depending on the circumstances, we might seek equitable relief to remedy the effects of the wrongful termination – in addition to monetary damages. This might include injunctive relief like ordering your employer to cease discriminatory or retaliatory conduct or other specific actions to address the harm caused by the termination.

👉Also Read: New York Legal Experts Fight for Employee Rights in Wrongful Termination Cases

Terminated Unlawfully? Our Award-Winning New York Wrongful Termination Lawyers Are Ready to Help You Get Justice!

At Levine & Blit, we know how wrongful termination can affect your career, finances, and well-being. It is why we are committed to providing you with the effective legal representation you need to hold your employer accountable for their unlawful actions.

We have a team of highly skilled employment lawyers who have decades of experience in handling wrongful termination lawsuits. Over the years, we have represented countless wrongfully terminated employees and helped them get justice.

We have a deep understanding of federal and New York employee termination laws and we know how different provisions of these laws apply to wrongful terminations involving employment law and contractual violations. We will not stop fighting until you get all the compensatory benefits and damages you are entitled to.

Call us today or get in touch with us online to schedule a free evaluation with a seasoned New York employment attorney at our firm.

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