New York Termination (with Discharge) laws & HR compliance analysis

New York Termination (with Discharge): What you need to know

New York is an “employment-at-will” state. Therefore, an employer may generally terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason, unless a law or agreement provides otherwise. For example, a federal or state law, collective bargaining agreement, or individual employment contract may place limitations on an otherwise at-will relationship.
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New York employers must provide written notice to discharged employees stating the date of termination and the date that employee benefits, such as health and accident insurance, will be cancelled. This notice must be given to the employee no later than 5 working days after the discharge (NY Labor Code Sec. 195).
Even if an employer has no explicit employment agreement with an employee, certain actions and representations can bind the employer just as if there were a written contract.
There are more details available on employment contracts.
As a general rule, if a federal, state, or local law grants employees the right to engage in an activity or to enjoy a benefit, employees should never be disciplined, discharged, or otherwise retaliated against for requesting or attempting to do so.
To list a few key examples, state law prohibits employers from discharging employees for engaging in the following activities:
Court attendance. Employers may not discipline or discharge employees for absences resulting from a summons to jury duty or from a subpoena to appear as a witness or victim in a criminal case (NY Jud. Code Sec. 519 and NY Penal Law Sec. 215.14).
Criminal offense. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against current employees, as well as applicants, convicted of a criminal offense when the ...

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