Employment contracts may be disputed if you are terminated for cause. We can help.


New York is an “at will” work state. However, there are employees who are covered under employment contracts who may only be terminated for cause. It is important to understand what cause actually means.

New York law prohibits the firing of any employee based on discriminatory practices. This includes firing an employee because she become pregnant, because of gender, because of a disability, because of age or because of sexual identity or preferences.

An employee who is not working under a contract may be terminated for any reason up to and including a disagreement with their employer. However, employees may not be fired for reporting sexual harassment, discrimination in the workplace, or for filing any report when a subsequent firing may be considered retaliatory.


In most cases, employment contracts specifically define the causes for potential firing or dismissal from a position. Nearly all contracts cover the following types of termination for cause:

  • Intentional acts – fraud, embezzlement or misrepresentation would all be considered intentional acts.
  • Breach of duty – an employee who deliberately breaches any obligation under an employment agreement, engages in any activity which could be considered disloyal to the company, including a breach of company policies, would be grounds for termination.
  • Performance based – generally speaking, a company has a right to terminate an employee, even under contract, if they fail to perform their duties. Exceptions are generally made in the event the employee is suffering from some kind of physical or mental disability.

In most cases, when an employee is relieved of their duties for cause, it is because they have failed to perform their jobs effectively, or because of misconduct. Employers must maintain accurate records in the event an employee files a claim with the Labor Relations Board for wrongful termination. For an employer who depends on contracts for hiring purposes, it is generally recommended that contracts are extremely clear about when and why an employee may be terminated for cause. The employment lawyers at Solomon Richman, P.C. can review contracts, as well as offer guidance when terminating an employee.

Employees who were terminated for cause, but believe their termination was discriminatory in some fashion, have a right to seek remedies. It is important to keep in mind that while proving you were terminated without a valid cause is challenging, it is not impossible. Employees who believe their employment was terminated unlawfully should seek the assistance of an employment attorney. Contact the experience employment attorneys at Solomon Richman, P.C. at (516) 437-6443 and we will review the facts of your case and advise you of the next steps.

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