Most modern families depend on their weekly wages to pay their bills and the rent or mortgage. Few have enough savings in the bank to survive if they lose their job. The additional fact that New York is an at-will employment state creates a situation in which workers are vulnerable to mistreatment and the violation of their rights as employees. It is important, therefore, to know your rights as an employee and the legal options at your disposal if those rights are violated.
Your Employer Is Violating Your Rights as an Employee If
- You work in a hostile work environment: the NYC Commission on Human Rights forbids your employer to discriminate and/or harass you based on your age, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, pregnancy, sex identity or orientation, marital status, arrest or conviction record, domestic violence victim status, or a record of unemployment.
- He or she considers employees to be independent contractors: independent contractors have neither benefits nor the right to apply for workers’ compensation insurance. However, some employers classify their employees as independent contractors to avoid allocating benefits for them. You should know that if your employer dictates the time when you arrive and leave, provides your tools, specifies your work uniform, tells you what work activities to carry out, and supervises your work, then you are an employee in the eyes of the law. The classification assigned by your employer is irrelevant.
- Retaliates against employees who report illegal actions or assert their rights: you are within your legal rights to report your employer for any illegal actions, including dangerous work conditions, subminimum wages, or preventing workers from claiming workers’ compensation benefits, among others. If you exercise any of the previously mentioned rights and your employer retaliates, you have legal cause against him or her.
- You are forced to sign an exoneration of any claim against your employer as part of your dismissal: it is illegal and unacceptable for your employer to pressure or force you to sign forms exonerating illegal actions and future claims. You have the right to take these forms home and show them to a lawyer, if you think it necessary, before deciding whether to sign them.
- Your employment is illegally terminated: even in an at-will employment state, your employer cannot dismiss you for reporting his or her actions or for announcing your religion or sexual identity. Even in jobs that don’t involve a contract, your employer should follow the Employee Manual if it establishes a procedure to follow before dismissing an employee. Any such specifications would create a sort of contract providing some protection for employees and grounds for a legal claim, when the specifications are not followed.
We believe that everyone deserves to be respected and treated with decency and equality. We are passionate in our defense of workers whose rights have been violated. We do not allow—we will not allow—the mistreatment of workers who come to us for help. If after reading this article you believe your rights or those of a coworker have been violated, request a free consultation as soon as possible.
This Blog is made available by Grupo MedLegal for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or medical advice. The information provided on the Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal or medical advice from a licensed professional.