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I have a potential lawsuit against my former employer and I am located in NY. The former employer is headquartered in CA

Chazy, NY |

and pursuant to the employment contract entered into, all legal matters must be adjudicated in CA. Would the courts in CA apply CA law, or NY law, where I physically worked as an independent contractor?

Attorney Answers 5

  1. You say you have a claim against your "employer," and then you say worked in New York as an "independent contractor."

    The employee vs. independent contractor distinction is a gray area of the law and can be tricky, even for experienced employers.

    California law is generally employee-friendly You may be better off applying California law, if it is more favorable to your case.

    On the other hand, if New York law were more favorable than California law on your case, you may want to consider filing suit in New York if you have a legal basis for suing in New York, because New York courts may have an overriding interest in protecting New York residents if New York law is more favorable than California law.

    You should talk to a lawyer on this one. It will take a little bit of research to answer this question.

    David Mallen

    David A. Mallen offers answers on Avvo for general information only. This offer of free, general answers is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. If you need specific advice regarding your legal question, you should consult an attorney confidentially. Many experienced California labor and employment attorneys, including David A. Mallen offer no-risk legal consultations to employers and employees at no charge. David A. Mallen is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, as well as the California Labor Commissioner and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Failure to take legal action within the time periods prescribed by law could result in the loss of important legal rights and remedies.

  2. Courts uphold forum selection clauses so if you have a contract that says any suit must be in California a New York court will dismiss your case if the employer makes a motion for that relief.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  3. I looked into a similar issue once. If the claim is based on New York Labor law rather than the contract specifically, there may be a chance that an NY court will keep the case here. It may be worth a shot to look into that. No guarantees though. Forum clauses are usually enforced.

    If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email -

  4. The answer to this question will depend on the employment contract, the specific wording of the clause and the underlying facts of your claim. So the short answer is: "it depends."

    Moreover, you may WANT to litigate this under California law rather than New York law, despite the fact that it may be inconvenient. Why would you want this? The law may be more favorable to you in California. Generally speaking, California state law is more favorable to employees than New York for certain legal issues. So what you really need to do is contact an attorney who has experience in both states' employment law and have them review this employment agreement.

    If you don't know one in your area go to the following website and search:

    Good luck,

    No attorney client relationship has been created by this answer.

  5. It is difficult to answer your inquiry without looking at the employment contract that you reference in your question. You should have an experienced employment attorney review the contract for you. I have experience handling these issues and am located in Plattsburgh. Please feel free to contact my office to arrange a consultation. My contact info is located in my profile.

    The above is for general informational purposes only and is not intended for the purposes of providing legal advice. Although I am an attorney licensed in the State of New York, the answer to the above question does not create an attorney-client relationship and I am not your attorney. Every situation is fact specific. You should consult with an attorney regarding your specific situation prior to acting upon any information obtained here or anywhere else online.

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