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Termination: Try Not To Let It Get There

Nov. 18, 2014

One of the most common complaints from my employment law clients is that they have been fired from their job. Potential clients who have been terminated seek a wide range of remedies; from reinstatement to severance. For good reason; losing your job can be both emotionally and financially debilitating. But that doesn't necessarily make it illegal.

Because New York is an at-will employment jurisdiction, there is no constitutional right to employment in this state. Of course, an employer cannot fire an employee for an illegal reason (race, gender, and sexual orientation to name a few) and that is always an issue that attorneys examine. But, for an employee without a term contract or a collective bargaining agreement, you are at the mercy of your employer.

So what does that mean? It is your job...until it is no longer your job. An employee's focus from the first day should be to render quality service. Usually such service can be easily quantified. In addition, a pleasant disposition and professional attitude go a long way. Avoiding disciplinary issues - such as tardiness and lateness - is also important.

Making yourself a valuable asset to your employer cannot ensure your continued employment, but at least you can be confident that you have done your part. Then, if you are fired, and you believe that termination was illegal, your work history may be one of the factors that can be used to validate your complaint. Keep this in mind.