Absent a contractual agreement, most employment in New York is considered to be employment at will. In an employment at will situation, a person can be terminated at any time, without reason. However, there are a number of exceptions to an employment at will termination. If someone is being terminated and that person's civil rights have been violated in any way, such as age discrimination, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, race or gender discrimination, failure to accommodate a medical condition, etc. Also, if termination is any way retaliatory for whistle blowing or some other act, an employer may be liable for wrongful discharge. Generally, unemployment may denied in situations of willful disobedience or if a former employee engaged in theft from his prior employer. It would be in your best interests to consult with an attorney so that the circumstances can be fully vetted and so that you can get advice as to what your legal options might be.
William J. Lasko
Attorney at Law
482 Summer Street, 2nd fl
Stamford, Conn. 06901
tel 203 329-6602
William J. Lasko is an experienced New York, Connecticut and Washington, D. C., licensed attorney who focuses his practice primarily on employment law, personal injury and estate matters. Mr. Lasko, has been in practice for more than 23 years, represents clients throughout New York, Connecticut and Washington, D. C.. More information is available at www.laskolaw.net. This response is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Additionally, this response does not create an attorney client relationship.
First, file for unemployment.
If you were a union member, you should contact your union representative about filing a grievance.
If you had an employment contract, have a local employment attorney review it to determine whether or not your employer violated it.
If you were not a union member and did not have an employment contract, then you were an at-will employee. At-will employees have limited employment rights. In general, employers can terminate you at any time for any reason. Even if they fire you based on inaccurate information, generally, it is not illegal. There are some exceptions. If you believe your employer may have terminated you in retaliation for something (like reporting illegal activity at work) or because of your membership in a protected class (like your race, religion, sex, disability, etc..), you may be able to file a claim or complaint against your former employer. Speak with a local employment attorney if you believe this may be the case. You can search for an attorney on Avvo or contact the National Employment Lawyers Association for a referral.
This answer is provided for guidance only. DO NOT rely on it as legal advice. We DO NOT have an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney in your area for a one-on-one consultation before pursuing any action or making any decisions.
You would need to provide more information before an attorney could give you an answer to your question. Generally, if you are an at will employee you can be fired for any reason (or no reason). There are exceptions though. For example, you cannot be fired based upon your age, race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or marital status. You also cannot be fired for making a complaint about one of these types of discrimination or for an employer's violation of the New York Labor Law. You should consult an attorney to see if you have a legitimate claim. I am located in Plattsburgh. Please feel free to contact me to schedule a consultation. My contact information is 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.
Sounds unfair but not necessarily illegal. As an employee at will you can generally be fired anytime, for any reason EXCEPT where a law protects you (generally based upon a protected characteristic: age, disability, gender, race, sexuality, etc.). The fact that they provided you a false reason raises a question as to the real motivation, which may very well be unlawful.
Good luck and if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.