Many individuals who work hard to earn a living in New York may not realize that they work “at will.” This means they can be fired without good cause, or without any cause at all. While there are legitimate reasons an employee can be fired, such as downsizing, poor performance, or violating a company policy, an employee who is fired due to unlawful considerations may be the victim of wrongful termination.

Because New York is an at will state, however, these claims can be hard to prove. This firm  works with employees who have been treated unfairly and illegally fired due to discrimination, retaliation or other violations of state and Federal law.

Grounds for a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in New York


There are a number of Federal laws that prohibit an employer from terminating an employee based on a legally protected characteristic including race, color, national origin, pregnancy, disability, religion, age (40 or older), citizenship status, or genetic information. There are limitations, however, because the law generally applies to employers with 15 or more employees while age discrimination rules apply to employers with at least 20 employees.

The New York City Human Rights Law is one of the strongest in the nation.  it is broader than the Federal law in that it prohibits discriminatory firing based on additional characteristics including age (18 and older) sexual orientation, marital status, gender identity, arrest record, credit status, military status, political activities, salary history, or status as a domestic violence victim.

If you believe you were fired because of your status as a member of protected class, you may have grounds for wrongful termination lawsuit due to discrimination. I have expertise in state and Federal discrimination laws and can help.


Under city, state and federal laws, it is illegal for an employer to fire, demote, harass or retaliate against job applicants or employees for filing a claim, or complaining to a superior, about harassment or discrimination on the job. An employee also cannot be fired for participating in any proceeding, such as an investigation or lawsuit, related to any legally protected activity.

Other Types of Illegal Firing

Employers are also prohibited from terminating employees in New York in the following circumstances:

  • In violation of a written contract
  • For filing a workers’ compensation claim
  • For reporting a whistleblower complaint
  • For reporting a dangerous or hazardous work condition

The Lancia Law Firm routinely represents clients by pursuing claims before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York Division of Human Rights and in the state and Federal courts.

Our firm has expertise in state, Federal and city laws protecting employees from wrongful termination and we are well aware of the subtle ways in which employers can retaliate against an employee. Call our office or fill out a contact form today for an evaluation of your case.