Steven Mitchell Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer,” was interviewed by UpJourney for an article titled “What to Do When You Get Fired Unfairly.” Mr. Sack said that, in the event you believe you were unfairly terminated, you should make sure you weren’t fired for your age, race, gender identification, religion, national origin, physical and/or mental disability, sexual preference, or military status.
“Of all these, age discrimination is the most prevalent,” Mr. Sack said. “Companies attempt to fire older workers because they believe they are paid more, and companies are looking to reduce payroll costs. They may also seek to fire an older worker because they believe their age — and physical condition — may have affected their ability to perform the job properly. Instead of firing them, the company may try to force them to retire early, only to reduce the older worker’s retirement benefits.”
There are other reasons you cannot be let go from your job, according to Mr. Sack. “You also cannot be fired if you refused to follow a company’s orders that resulted in illegal activity, reported corporate misconduct to the authorities and/or sexual or racial harassment and discrimination to your superiors or took extended leaves of absence due to pregnancy, hospitalization, jury duty or military service,” he said.
Mr. Sack also offered the following tips:
- Know your rights.
- Be sure to document everything that was promised to you during the job interview.
- Don’t leave empty-handed (in other words, make sure you receive what you are entitled to — unpaid commissions, salary, bonuses, reimbursements, health benefits, etc.)
- Always remember: Every firing is negotiable.
Mr. Sack said the last tip is the most important. “A firing doesn’t have to end with you clearing out your desk and walking out with your possessions in a box,” he said. “See if you can work out a deal to stay on with the company and if you can still be on its health plan for a few more weeks until you can find another job.”
Mr. Sack has been an employment attorney for more than 40 years. He is known for successfully representing a group of waiters in Samiento v. World Yacht Inc. The landmark New York Court of Appeals decision made it more difficult for restaurants and caterers to keep gratuities intended for their wait staff. He is the author of The Employee Rights Handbook, which has been called a “first-aid kit” for current and prospective employees, giving them the information they need to understand their job rights and protect and assert themselves to collect what is due; telling his readers and clients that “every firing is negotiable.” He served as plaintiffs’ counsel on behalf of three women who were wrongfully terminated when their employer discovered they were pregnant. A Bronx Supreme Court jury awarded the plaintiffs $6.2 million.