New York is an “at-will” state when it comes to employment. That means an employer can fire you for nearly any reason — as long as the reason doesn’t violate anti-discrimination laws on the city, state or federal levels.

But if you ask around, many people will tell you they’ve been fired for frivolous or made-up reasons.

How do employers get away with wrongful termination?

There have been cases of managers spending months building up false “policy violations” and negative performance reviews against an employee — just to seem like it’s justified when the manager fires the employee. This intentional and unjustified collection of false allegations and negative reviews is sometimes called “papering out” a worker. But often discrimination or retaliation is the underlying reason for firing the employee.

In other cases, employees are simply taken off guard when their manager fires them. If you show up to work one day and your manager fires you for some shocking reason, it may take some time to collect your thoughts and decide whether you should take legal action. Even though they don’t have to, many employees just try to move on and endure the resulting hardship. That means the employer gets away with a potentially unlawful firing.

Employers in New York are being scrutinized for bad practices

Recently fast-food workers in New York have raised their voices over frivolous firings by their managers. The workers say that favoritism and racial discrimination are often the root causes of wrongful termination in the fast-food industry.

Legislators in New York City have proposed new legislation to address this widespread problem, which includes not only wrongful termination — but also retaliatory actions like slashing a worker’s hours without just cause.

If you or someone you love has been wrongfully fired or otherwise mistreated at work, it’s important to know that there are legal options for holding a wrongdoer-employer accountable. An experienced employment law attorney can listen to your concerns, assess your situation and explain the best path forward.