EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION

Employment law, also known as labor law, involves litigation over the rights and obligations of workers, employers, trade unions and the government.  Employment standards are social norms (in some cases also legislation) for the minimum socially acceptable conditions under which employees or contractors are allowed to work. Government agencies, such as the former US Employment Standards Administration and the Department of Labor, enforce labor laws.

Some common labor disputes involve the following:

  • Minimum Wage
  • Overtime
  • Wage Theft Prevention Act
  • Family Medical Leave Act
  • Wage Deductions
  • Retaliation
  • Independent Contractors
  • Construction Accidents
  • Office Accidents
  • Unsafe Workplace
  • Third Party Liability
  • Workers Compensation
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Sex Discrimination
  • Pregnancy Discrimination
  • Age Discrimination
  • Race Discrimination
  • Disability Discrimination
  • Religious Discrimination
  • Whistleblowers
  • Severance Agreements

Having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney is necessary to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.  The Attorneys at Larkin Farrell, LLC are here to help you with your labor disputes.  The attorneys at Larkin Farrell, LLC have handled and tried thousands of cases for the institutional clients that we have represented for the past 15+ years.  We have represented those clients in arbitration and court.  We have tried cases in Civil and Supreme Court in all 5 boroughs as well as many of the District Courts in Long Island.  We have a very high win rate and client satisfaction rating.

We can’t help you until you call us with your legal problem. Click the link to send us an email or call us at (212) 888-5807 to discuss. Many legal issues are time sensitive so don’t delay. Call or email us now. All consultations are free of charge. If you decide to hire us we can work out a payment arrangement that fits your budget.

Minimum Wage

First established in 1938, federal minimum wage laws are a frequent topic of discussion among politicians on both the national and local stages. In fact, many states, like New York, have minimum wages which are higher than the federal level. Complicating the issue even further is the fact that some employers — such as those that have workers who receive tips and some disabled workers — may be able to pay employees below the state and/or federal minimum wage.

If employees believe that they have been denied wages, they can sue their employer to receive restitution. If the court deems that the employer’s violation was willful, the employee can receive an additional 25% of the awarded damages. In New York, there is a six-year statute of limitations for a wage claim.

At Larkin Farrell, LLC we represent employees in their minimum wage claims. We litigate minimum wage claims to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve.  We can’t help you until you call us with your legal problem. Click the link to send us an email or call us at (212) 888-5807 to discuss. Many legal issues are time sensitive so don’t delay. Call or email us now. All consultations are free of charge. If you decide to hire us we can work out a payment arrangement that fits your budget.

Wage Theft Prevention Act

The Wage Theft Prevention Act was created to provide greater protection to workers in the private sector.  The Wage Theft Prevention Act ensures that employees, upon hiring, receive notice which addresses numerous aspects of their pay, including, but not limited to, the rate of pay, basis for the rate of pay, the name of the employer, and the address of the employer. Further illustrating the extent to which the law intends to protect workers, the New York State Department of Labor states that the “law protects employees even if the employer incorrectly believes they made a complaint.”

Employees who believe they have not received a proper wage statement may be able to bring a claim against their employers.. At Larkin Farrell, LLC we represent employees in their claims regarding wage statements.  We litigate claims to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve.  We can’t help you until you call us with your legal problem. Click the link to send us an email or call us at (212) 888-5807 to discuss.  Many legal issues are time sensitive so don’t delay. Call or email us now.  All consultations are free of charge.  If you decide to hire us we can work out a payment arrangement that fits your budget.

Family Medical Leave Act

Since 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, has provided employees of covered employers the ability to take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons; moreover, employees which are members of military families may be entitled to additional types of leave.  In addition, the FMLA ensures that employees receive a continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

The FMLA provides employees with a variety of entitlements.  For example, under the basic entitlement, in a 12-month period, employees are entitled to 12 workweeks of leave for the following situations:

  • the birth of a child
  • to care for a newborn child within its first year of birth
  • to care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job

Employees who believe their rights to take a job-protected leave as granted by the FMLA or who believe their rights have been otherwise violated by their employers may be entitled to receive compensation.  At Larkin Farrell, LLC we represent employees in their claims regarding FMLA violations.  We litigate claims to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve.  We can’t help you until you call us with your legal problem.  Click the link to send us an email or call us at (212) 888-5807 to discuss.  Many legal issues are time sensitive so don’t delay.  Call or email us now.  All consultations are free of charge.  If you decide to hire us we can work out a payment arrangement that fits your budget.

Wage Deductions

From insurance premiums to pension benefits, prepaid legal plans to labor organization dues, and before-school care expenses to fitness center memberships dues, there are a variety of authorized deductions which employers can make from employees’ wages.  However, there is a limit to the types of deductions which employers can make.  If there is a deduction from a worker’s wages due to breakages, cash shortages, fines, and/or losses to the business, there is a likelihood that the employee’s rights have been violated.

Employees who believe their wages have been subject to unauthorized deductions by their employers may be entitled to receive compensation. At Larkin Farrell, LLC we represent employees in their claims regarding wage deduction violations. We litigate claims to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve.  We can’t help you until you call us with your legal problem. Click the link to send us an email or call us at (212) 888-5807 to discuss.  Many legal issues are time sensitive so don’t delay. Call or email us now.  All consultations are free of charge.  If you decide to hire us we can work out a payment arrangement that fits your budget.

Overtime

For the most part, workers can expect to receive an hourly wage of one and one-half times — often referred to as “time-and-a-half pay” — their regular wage for each hour they work over 40 hours in a given payroll week. Like with minimum wage, though, overtime pay can vary based on the employee’s job. Commissioned sales employees, computer professionals, and drivers are three examples of employees which may be exempt from the typical overtime rate; however, there are a variety of other jobs deemed to be exempt as well.

Employees who believe they have not received the appropriate overtime pay may be able to bring a claim against their employers to recover the unpaid wages.

At Larkin Farrell, LLC we represent employees in their overtime claims. We litigate overtime claims to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve.  We can’t help you until you call us with your legal problem. Click the link to send us an email or call us at (212) 888-5807 to discuss. Many legal issues are time sensitive so don’t delay. Call or email us now. All consultations are free of charge. If you decide to hire us we can work out a payment arrangement that fits your budget.

Independent Contractors

Frequently, the relationship between an employer and the individual who performs the work is clear: employer-employee. This, however, becomes more complicated when workers, are, in fact, are operating in the role of independent contractor, not employee. According to the New York State Department of Labor, there are several factors which determine whether the relationship is employee-employer or that of an independent contractor. These include how much supervision, direction and control the employer has over the services.

For employers, there is often an advantage to having independent contractors work for them instead of employees. Unlike employees, employers are not required to pay independent contractors minimum wage, and they are not liable for unemployment insurance contributions. The distinction between employee and independent contractor is an important one. If you employer has wrongly identified your position, you may be able to bring a claim against the employer and recover unpaid wages.

At Larkin Farrell, LLC we represent employees who are wrongly considered independent contractors. We litigate claims addressing the employer-employee relationship to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve.  We can’t help you until you call us with your legal problem. Click the link to send us an email or call us at (212) 888-5807 to discuss. Many legal issues are time sensitive so don’t delay. Call or email us now. All consultations are free of charge. If you decide to hire us we can work out a payment arrangement that fits your budget.

Whistleblowers

When workers witness their employers break the law, they often have mixed feelings. On one hand, they may feel compelled to report the wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities; however, they may also be reluctant out of the fear that they will be subject to retaliatory action from their employer. It is important to recognize that both public and private sector employees who act as whistleblowers are protected by the law.

It is illegal for an employer to take retributive action such as suspending, demoting, or reducing wages regarding an employee who reports criminal activity.

At Larkin Farrell, LLC we represent employees who have been subject to retaliation for reporting misconduct, corruption, and/or criminal activity. We litigate claims addressing whistleblowers to ensure our clients receive the rights which the law affords them.  We can’t help you until you call us with your legal problem. Click the link to send us an email or call us at (212) 888-5807 to discuss. Many legal issues are time sensitive so don’t delay. Call or email us now. All consultations are free of charge. If you decide to hire us we can work out a payment arrangement that fits your budget.

Severance Agreements

What is a Severance Agreement?

Severance Agreements are contracts between you and your employer where you agree to give up some of your rights in order to collect the severance payment or other benefits. If you sign a Severance Agreement, you may not be able to sue your employer for discrimination, retaliation, harassment, certain monies you believe you may be owed, or other illegal conduct. Severance agreements may also prevent you from working for some other employers, or doing or saying certain things.

It is important to understand the document you are signing and the legal implications involved with signing a Severance Agreement.  You should only do so if advised to by an employment attorney.  At Larkin Farrell, LLC we review and negotiate Severance Agreements and advise clients so that they fully understand the agreement they are entering into.  If you were offered a Severance Agreement call or email us now.  Don’t wait.  Any delay could prejudice your rights.

 

Do Employers Owe Employees a Severance Agreement or Severance Payment?

As a general rule, New York is an at-will employment state, meaning your employer can terminate you for any reason, or no reason at all, so long as the decision is not basing on discrimination of you for being part of a protected class (ie. race, religion, sex) or retaliation.

Generally speaking, employees have no legal entitlement to a severance agreement in New York. However, there are circumstances that could require employers to make a severance payment.

For instance, if you signed an employment agreement at the outset of your employment, or at some stage during the course of your employment, it may state that you are entitled to severance.  In some cases, this payment is clearly defined.  In other cases, the entitlement can be contingent on certain factors such as the length of employment.  It is important to consult an employment attorney to determine your rights upon termination.

Even if you don’t have an employment agreement, you may be entitled to a severance agreement if your employer has policies, or a history, of making payments on termination. In some circumstances these policies create a quasi-contractual right to a severance payment in New York.

Typically, an employee is only entitled to a severance agreement in specific circumstances, regardless of whether there is an employment agreement or an employer policy in place.  It is important to retain counsel to advise you as to whether your circumstances warrant a Severance Agreement in New York.

It is important to understand the document you are signing and the legal implications involved with signing a Severance Agreement.  You should only do so if advised to by an employment attorney.  At Larkin Farrell, LLC we review and negotiate Severance Agreements and advise clients so that they fully understand the agreement they are entering into.  If you were offered a Severance Agreement call or email us now.  Don’t wait.  Any delay could prejudice your rights.

 

Why Would An Employer Offer a Severance Agreement?

Many companies offer terminated employees a Severance Agreement to protect themselves from claims of discrimination, disparagement and/or to limit the employee’s ability to compete with the employer for business.  If you sign a Severance Agreement, there is a strong likelihood that the agreement will contain language stating that you cannot sue your employer for discrimination, retaliation, harassment, certain monies you believe you may be owed, or other illegal conduct. Severance agreements may also prevent you from working for competitors, or making disparaging comments about the company both verbally and in writing, including on-line and in social media.

It is important to understand the document you are signing and the legal implications involved with signing a Severance Agreement.  You should only do so if advised to by an employment attorney.  At Larkin Farrell, LLC we review and negotiate Severance Agreements and advise clients so that they fully understand the agreement they are entering into.  If you were offered a Severance Agreement call or email us now.  Don’t wait.  Any delay could prejudice your rights.

 

What Are Some Common Terms and Conditions of a Severance Agreement?

  • Deadline

Workers that are forty (40) or older are entitled to at least twenty-one (21) days to consider the Severance Agreement in New York. If several employees are terminated at the same time, this may be considered a “group layoff.” Every employee, regardless of age, must be given forty-five (45) days to consider the agreement if a single employee is over the age of forty (40) and the Severance Agreement is part of a group layoff.  Otherwise, there is no requirement that an employee be provided any specific amount of time to consider the Severance Agreement.  The contract itself will dictate how long the offer will remain open for you to sign.  You should look for this clause so you know how much time you have to consult with an employment attorney and make an informed decision.

  • Revocation Clause

For employees over forty (40), the severance agreement must contain a seven (7) day revocation period.  During this revocation period the employee may revoke the agreement even though he or she already signed it.  This 7-day window cannot be waived or changed by either party.  If you are not over 40 the revocation period is not required by New York law and the terms of the Severance Agreement itself will dictate whether or not you can revoke the agreement.

  • Waiver

If you sign a severance agreement you cannot sue your employer for anything to do with your employment, with very limited exceptions.  Most severance agreements contain a release of a variety of claims, including claims based upon your age, race, national origin, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation or other protected class. The Severance Agreement should, however, reserve your right to sue the employer for breach of the Severance Agreement itself.

  • Consideration

Consideration is required for any contract to be binding.  It is the exchange of things of value.  The consideration one party receives is usually money.  In the case of a Severance Agreement, the employer receives the employee’s agreement not to sue the company in exchange for money in the form of the Severance Payment.  Consideration must be above and beyond what the employee would otherwise be entitled to.  Payment of wages and/or benefits already earned does not constitute “consideration.”

  • Restrictive Covenants

Most Severance Agreements contain various restrictive covenants.  Restrictive covenants are clauses such as non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements and confidentiality agreements that restrict the employee’s ability to take certain actions after the employment ends.  Most employers put various restrictive covenants into their Severance Agreements.  It is important to have an employment attorney review the Severance Agreement to ensure that you understand the limitations imposed on you by these restrictive covenants.

  • Why Should I Hire An Employment Attorney to Review My Severance Agreement?

A Severance Agreement may look great to the untrained eye.  It’s important to have the document reviewed by a professional before you sign.  You should make sure you fully understand the rights you are giving up.  You may have a cause of action against the company that you are unaware of.  The potential claim you are giving up could far exceed the severance payment your former employer is agreeing to make to you to release your claim.  Having an employment attorney alone, without threatening litigation, can serve to put your employer on notice that you are seriously considering all legal options, which can help you from a negotiating standpoint.

Even if there is no claim to be made you may be able to negotiate better terms.  Most severance agreements contain a non-disparagement clause preventing you from speaking negatively about your former employer.  In this day and age with the internet and social media, many employers put a lot of weight in the non-disparagement clause. The weight your employer gives to that clause will depend on the employer, its current reputation, the importance of the company’s reputation to the employer’s business and the industry. If your employer is concerned about you making disparaging comments the employer may be willing to pay more than they initially offered in the Severance Agreement.

Another reason employers offer Severance Agreements is to limit the employees’ ability to compete with the employer.  Employees have value.  Their relationships could translate to business for their competitors should their former employees end up working for one.  Severance Agreements often include non-compete clauses that limit the employers ability to seek employment with competitors for a certain period of time.  These non-compete clauses, often referred to as a covenant non-compete, are often of great value to an employer.  You should consult with an employment attorney to determine whether you can negotiate a higher Severance Payment in exchange for the non-compete clause.  If you plan on taking a job with a competitor you would certainly want an employment attorney to review the Severance Agreement and advise you on whether the agreement should be modified to carve out certain exceptions to the non-compete or whether you should sign the agreement at all.

You should remember that a Severance Agreement is being offered for a reason.  Your employer has something to gain from you signing the agreement.  The agreement has value to the employer and you should consult with an experienced employment attorney to help determine what that reason is and the value of that agreement to the employer.  Often the benefit from negotiating better terms far exceeds the cost of having the employment attorney review the agreement.

It is important to understand the document you are signing and the legal implications involved with signing a Severance Agreement.  You should only do so if advised to by an employment attorney.  At Larkin Farrell, LLC we review and negotiate Severance Agreements and advise clients so that they fully understand the agreement they are entering into.  If you were offered a Severance Agreement call or email us now.  Don’t wait.  Any delay could prejudice your rights.