Do I have a good case?
4 attorney answers
It depends. You might start out with a case which looks great and it could become much less great with time. Employment cases take on lives of their own. It's all in the facts.
I suggest keeping an eye on whether your old job is advertised and apply for it if it is. Supervisors not liking you is ok. But not liking you because you belong to one or more protected classes of employees is not ok. Assuming you are the most qualified applicant if your position is re-advertised and you apply you should be re-hired. Discriminatory animus is a challenging thing to prove no matter what your claim is. I have created quite a number of informational videos which are posted on YouTube on a channel which I call Employment Law Reality Check. There are more than 50.
Each video suggests that potential clients call many employment lawyers and determine who clicks with them. A legitimate reason, for example saving money, is perfectly fine.
Remember you only have possibly 1 year to file a claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights and every employee has a duty to mitigate damages. You need to keep applying and looking for another job. Unpaid wage claims generally have a six year statute of limitations across New York State. If you have unpaid wages, small claims court might be one way to go in New York?
Your termination was only unlawful if it was done for a discriminatory or retaliatory reason -- i.e., if it was based on your race, age, gender, medical background, etc., or if it was in retaliation for making a complaint about one of these things. If, however, your former employer wasn't paying you or others at minimum wage, or wasn't paying overtime at a premium rate, he may be liable under federal and state law (assuming the workers in question were not "exempt," which is very fact specific). Generally, employers who fail to properly pay minimum wage or overtime owe the amount of the underpayment as well as an additional, equal amount, called "liquidated damages."
Unless you have a contract or you believe you were fired for something specifically prohibited like race/ethnicity, gender, sex, orientation, the employer can fire whoever they want whenever they want for whatever reason they want. Or no reason.
The wages and lack of breaks could be illegal, but without knowing the job it’s hard to say. For example, interns make less than minimum wage and work full days often without breaks when there’s no time. Some jobs won’t have breaks because it’s either not feasible or the state laws permit the lack of breaks by scheduled hours. Some jurisdictions may require a 30min break for every 7 hours worked, others 8. Some will allow for a 15 min paid break at 5h, some won’t.
Your claim will depend on the local laws and type of job, plus the details of the job.
Answers are for educational and general information purposes only, and are not meant as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed through communication on a public forum such as this website.
It could be a case depending on various factors related to unlawful termination (based on discrimination) and violation of NY and Federal employment laws but further information and detailed are needed. If you were the only one, its questionable whether it's actually downsizing or not. Consider contacting an employment lawyer.