Can an Employee Be Fired For No Reason At All?

In New York state, unless a contract has been signed between an employer and an employee, employment is considered at-will. This means that an employer may fire an employee at will, and an employee may also quit at his or her own will. More simply, an employee can be fired for no reason at all, or for some reasons which may be considered unreasonable but are actually allowed under at-will employment.


An employer terminating an employee for animosity, being late to work once, or just because they didn’t like the employee, may all be considered acceptable under at-will employment. For an employee to have legal recourse in his or her wrongful termination suit, the employee needs to be able to show that the employer acted unlawfully or in violation of a contract, not just unkindly. 


What does qualify as wrongful termination?


An employee may have a basis for legal action if, for example:


  • A contract was signed that specifies for what reasons one can be terminated, and the termination was based on a reason outside of what is specified in the contract;
  • The employee is part of a union, which has a contract that specifies that the employee must be fired for a good cause;
  • The employee was terminated for whistleblowing;
  • The termination was based upon some type of unlawful discrimination.


There are a few other qualifying circumstances for wrongful termination, but these are the most common.


There are many nuances to claims for wrongful termination in New York and the most important step is to hire experienced and reputable counsel to help you through your case. Contact us today for more information on what we can do for you.

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