You are fired concept, office interior with armchairs

WRONGFUL TERMINATION: DOES IT EXIST AS A LEGAL CLAIM?

December 17th, 2014 Posted by

Employees often claim that they were “wrongfully terminated.”  In the State of New York, and almost every other state, no such claim exists.  As an “at will” employee your employer can hire and fire you for any reason or no reason at all without consequence.  Indeed, regardless of how good your performance is, being terminated for political reasons, because your boss does not like you or because HR falsely accuses you of some misconduct does give rise to a legal claim of “wrongful termination.”

This does not mean employees lack rights that give rise to legal claims against their employers.   Employers can be held legally responsible for monetary damages resulting from, among other things, breaching a contract of employment for set period of time before such time expires, breaching a contractual commitment related to your compensation, equity and/or benefits, violating statutory laws related discrimination, retaliation for reporting discrimination, “whistle-blowing,” family medical leave, and for tort claims such as defamation and interfering with a future employer.

That also does not mean that these types of issues leave you powerless to negotiate with your employer for severance or other needed post-employment benefits.  Such non-legal issues can often be powerful negotiating leverage it applied properly.