Can I Get Fired for Off-Duty Conduct?

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You may make a conscious effort to keep your private life separate from your work life. But in the age of social media and through word of mouth alone, you may still fear that your off-duty conduct may get back to your employer. With this, you may worry that you will be fired or otherwise punished as a direct result. Read on to discover whether you can get fired for off-duty conduct and how a seasoned New York employee rights lawyer at Bell Law Group can fight back on your behalf if you are wrongfully terminated.

Can I get fired for off-duty conduct in New York State?

Essentially, you may do what you please outside of work, so long as such activities are lawful. So, your employer may not have grounds for terminating you for this reason alone. More specifically, Section 201-d of the New York Labor Law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees for any of the following off-duty activities:

  • Legal political activities (i.e., running for public office, campaigning for a candidate for public office, etc).
  • Legal use of consumable products (i.e., alcohol, legal tobacco products, etc).
  • Legal recreational activities (i.e., playing certain sports, watching certain TV shows, etc).
  • Membership in a union (or any exercise of rights under the federal Labor Management Relations Act or New York State’s Taylor Law).

Further, New York State law holds that “off-duty” conduct meets the following criteria:

  • Such conduct must be performed outside of working hours.
  • Such conduct must be performed off of the employer’s premises.
  • Such conduct must be performed without the use of the employer’s equipment.

What should I do if I am wrongfully terminated?

If your employer fires you based on disapproving of your off-duty activities, then you may have a wrongful termination lawsuit on your hands. With a successful lawsuit, you may obtain the financial compensation necessary to recover the damages you incurred after being fired. So, to kickstart your legal action, it may be in your best interest to take the following steps:

  1. Request that your employer provide a written statement explaining the reasoning behind your termination.
  2. Request that coworkers provide written statements explaining what they witnessed with your firing.
  3. Report the incident to the New York State Department of Labor at 1-800-662-1220.
  4. Report the incident to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before the deadline of 300 days from the date of your termination.
  5. Reach out to an employee rights lawyer before the statute of limitations of three years from the date of your termination.

At the end of the day, you need a competent New York employee rights lawyer on your side if you are dealing with a wrongful termination case. Contact Bell Law Group to retain our services today.

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