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What to Know About Being an At-Will Employee

Oct 19

Have you ever wondered what your rights as an at-will employee are? Maybe you’re new to the workforce and are learning what it means to be an at-will employee or have recently been terminated and are wondering if it was legal. It’s important for any at-will employee to understand what rights they have so that they’re aware of when their employer attempts to violate these rights.

At Brown Kwon & Lam, we help New York City employees know what their rights are and fight for them when these rights are threatened. We’re here to help you learn more about at-will employment.

What Exactly Is At-Will Employment?

You may have heard of at-will employment or know that you are an at-will employee, but you may not fully understand what that means. At-will employment means that an employee can be fired at any time for any reason. This is different from employment arrangements that require the employer to have just cause for terminating an employee. When you’re an at-will employee, you can be let go even when there have been no issues with your job performance. New York and every other state in the country practice at-will employment, with some exceptions for certain employees.

At-will employment does provide some benefits for employees as well. While an employer can fire you for any time for any reason, you can also quit at any time for any reason without giving notice. Of course, it’s always recommended to give your employer notice and leave on good terms, but this isn’t always possible, especially in bad situations.

Are There Exceptions to At-Will Employment?

The amount of freedom at-will employment gives to employees may make it seem like this arrangement makes it possible to abuse this power. However, there are some limitations to when an employer can fire an employee. Discrimination is still illegal in at-will employment situations, so a termination may be unlawful if the reason for it was to discriminate against the employee for their association to a protected class. Discriminatory firings aren’t the only time when firing an at-will employee may be illegal. Employers are also prohibited from firing employees to retaliate against them for exercising their employee rights.

However, it can be difficult to know when termination may be illegal. Employers are not required to tell employees why they fired them. Of course, even if an employer does give a reason, they won’t openly admit that it was for a reason like discrimination. An employment discrimination attorney can help employees who have been terminated determine if it was lawful or not and what can be done if they find it to be unlawful

New York Wrongful Termination Lawyers Who Can Help

Being an at-will employee does not mean you have no rights or protections when it comes to being terminated. If you suspect something was illegal about your termination, you can still take legal action, even if you were an at-will employee. At Brown Kwon & Lam, we can help if you believe you experienced a wrongful termination.

You may have a chance to receive compensation for the damages brought on by your wrongful termination. Contact us today to learn more.

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