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F.A.Q.'s

Sexual Harassment

Q: Can I obtain damages because of sexual harassment?

A: Sexual harassment in the workplace violates federal, state, city and many local laws. If you are a victim of unlawful sexual harassment, you should immediately contact an employment lawyer. You may be eligible for lost wages and emotional distress damages as well as punitive damages. We are available to assist you. Please click here if you would like to review summaries of some recent sexual harassment cases.

Discrimination

Q: I believe I was wrongfully terminated, can I sue my employer?

A: Many states, including New York, do not provide for a cause of action for wrongful termination. However, if you believe you were fired due to unlawful discrimination on account of your sex, sexual orientation, race, marital status, religion, color, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, veteran status, obligation to serve in the United States Armed Forces or any other reason protected by law, you may have a case against your employer. We urge you to contact an employment lawyer immediately to learn your rights. Click here for EEONews about the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws.

Contracts

Q: If I have a "for cause" clause in my contract, do I need to worry about being fired without having done anything wrong?

A: Many written employment contracts define "cause" so broadly as to give the employer virtually unlimited discretion in firing you. It is vital that you have an attorney advise you and, perhaps, negotiate the terms and conditions of your employment contract.

Restrictive Covenants

Q: Are restrictive covenant agreements that limit my ability to work after being fired really enforceable?

A: This is one of the fastest growing areas of concern for employees. An employer can require you to sign a restrictive covenant as a condition of hiring you and then enforce it against you when you leave, restricting your ability to earn a living. You should seek legal advice before signing any restrictive covenant and before you do anything that may violate it.

Severance Packages

Q: Are employees owed severance when their job ends?

A: In general, an employer is not required to pay you severance. However, you may be entitled to severance under a union contract, employment contract, a benefits plan, federal law or New York law if there is a mass layoff. Further, if you believe your firing was unlawful, an attorney may be able to negotiate an exit package that includes severance pay. If you believe you should receive severance pay or you have not been offered severance pay, you should contact an employment lawyer.

Overtime Pay

Q: Are you entitled to overtime pay?

A: All employees who work over 40 hours in a workweek are entitled to one and one-half times their regular rate of pay unless they are exempt from state and federal overtime pay laws. The most common exemptions govern administrative, professional and executive employees. Click here for more information about the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Disability Discrimination

Q: My employer told me my disability is not protected under law and has refused to accommodate my disability. What can I do?

A: The disability discrimination laws are very complex and are constantly changing. Your employer may not have considered your circumstances correctly in deciding on how to deal with your disability. An employment lawyer can advise you on whether you have a qualifying disability, how to present this to your employer and what a reasonable accommodation for your disability would be under the law. Click here for EEONews about disability discrimination.

FMLA

Q: Can I take time off for work to care for myself or my family without fear of losing my job?

A: If your employer is covered by the FMLA you have the right to unpaid leave time for a serious health condition. Like many employment laws, the regulation governing FMLA leave can be a minefield for the employee without legal counsel. It is best to seek legal advice from your employment lawyer as soon as possible.Click here for EEONews about the FMLA.

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