Q: I was fired from my job 2 months ago and i believe i was discriminated against. What should I do?
About 2 months ago I was fired from my factory job. I was accused of causing harm to a coworker, which is totally false. The accuser lied about what happened and lied about having witnesses. I was fired that day and filed a grievance. I tried to get ahold of my union rep but i haven't heard a thing from them since I was fired. I believe that I was wrongfully terminated and discriminated against due to the fact that I was the youngest worker in the factory and the accuser was a black female and I am a white male. I have thought about suing the company for lost wages. Should I go about doing that?
A: New York is an employment-at-will state, meaning your employer does not have to have a reason to fire you. You can even be terminated for a bad or unfair reason.
Termination is wrongful only if it was based on your protected status (race, gender, religion, age, etc.), but it is your burden to prove that was the reason. It is not enough that you believe or feel that was the reason.
If, as you say, your employer terminated you because it believed lies told by your co-worker that you caused harm to another employee, that would be a non-discriminatory reason for your termination, making it difficult for you to bring an action against your employer for discrimination.
However, employment law is very fact specific. If you believe your employer acted illegally, you should speak to an experienced employment attorney in your area to discuss the details of your particular situation.
You can read more about the laws that protect employees at https://www.workingnowandthen.com/.
This response is not legal advice, but is general information only, based upon the information stated in the question and general legal principles. It is provided for general educational purposes of the public who may have similar questions, not for any specific individual or circumstance. It is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Legal issues depend on all the specific facts of a situation, which are not present here. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about your issue, you must contact a local attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.
A: Every plaintiff has to prove discrimination. That is done with a plausible theory of severe or pervasive discriminatory conduct. This sounds very lawyer-like; I know. But that's why you really need to retain an employment lawyer before filing charges or a complaint.
You can file charges with the EEOC within 300 days or a complaint with the NYS Division of Human Rights within a year of an adverse employment action (your firing). But if you do so just with the facts you provided in your post chances are pretty good that it will go no further than your filing. Retain an employment lawyer! Most employment lawyers will invest many hours helping you uncover the important facts and spend lots of time drafting your charge or complaint. The government agencies are very good but most are very overworked and understaffed. It's not likely that a government agency will be able to invest the hours and hours into your claim that an employment lawyer would need to invest. Of course an employment lawyer will need to hear discrimination, which can be proven, from you during a conference or what you might feel is an interview. Pretext is not always easy to show and if you are unfamiliar with that term it's probably time to retain an employment lawyer. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE!
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.