Employment Law Reality Check was created by Urba Law PLLC almost 5 years ago.

Potential clients were rightfully confused about employment at will, wrongful termination, and hostile workplace definitions. Their definitions are counter-intuitive as you will see.

Urba Law drills down for facts supporting, occasionally defending, employment discrimination charges in New York. Urba regards himself as skilled and occasionally represents small employers too. Employment law cases, including employment discrimination, begin with:

1.  At least one, strong, credible witness (might be you)

2.  Strong facts either supported by documents or credible witness(es). Personnel files are a great place to start. But for New York employees in the private sector, their files are often confidential until lawsuits are filed: https://urbaemploymentlaw.com/ny-personnel-files-excluding-government-or-union-are-private/

3.  Thoroughly, legally researched theory under which to recover?

The above is a basic roadmap for recovery under an employment discrimination theory. Although legal theories may seem endless, they all begin with strong facts. Without good facts, legal theories mean little.

Even hostile or unpleasant workplaces require legal theories under which to recover. Going to HR and complaining about a nasty or unpleasant boss or co-workers goes nowhere unless there is at least a suggestion of discrimination of some kind or an alleged illegal or unlawful conduct. Many callers are surprised to learn that bosses and even co-workers can be mean. https://urbaemploymentlaw.com/bullying-is-not-necessarily-harassment-nor-hostile-workplace/

They just can’t be discriminatory or break a law adversely affecting the employee or alleged victim or subject. Personality conflicts are not covered nor protected. https://urbaemploymentlaw.com/at-will-employee-termination-for-no-reason-is-a-good-reason/

Next, potential clients often ask Urba Law about taking cases as contingent fee arrangements. Such cases require solid, alleged facts. It’s not uncommon for defense counsel to examine and investigate an employee’s application for employment, sometimes many years after they were hired: https://urbaemploymentlaw.com/dishonesty-on-a-ny-employment-application-could-be-fatal/

But assuming no red flags with strong facts, skilled employment lawyers often think of creative ways to resolve challenging claims, raising otherwise hidden, potential ADA claims, as discussed here: https://urbaemploymentlaw.com/employer-practice-of-ny-workplace-drinking-may-discriminate/.

Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act demand plausible theories with strong facts. Suspicions of illegality or discrimination are not enough. Even excellent lawyers litigating in Manhattan lose claims which appeared strong when filed: https://urbaemploymentlaw.com/even-ada-does-not-protect-firefighters-subject-to-osha-reg/

Urba Law has more than 30 years of legal, including litigation, experience. Litigation is welcomed. However, alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, is a given employment law reality check for many disputes in this legal niche.

For more than 20 years Urba Law has handled exclusively labor and employment law matters. It’s one reason Urba is admitted to all of New York’s federal district courts. All employment law complaints are referred to mediation by federal district courts. Most are resolved short of trial when both sides are represented by skilled lawyers as discussed here: https://urbaemploymentlaw.com/mediate-employment-cases-when-both-sides-have-legal-counsel/  Urba represents employees and occasionally small employers, resolving employment disputes privately or facilitated by mediation. Urba serves New York statewide including the filing of New York State Division of Human Rights pleadings, conciliation, and litigation.

Employment discrimination charges and complaints are rarely governed by contracts. Contract language disputes differ from employment discrimination. The language of the first is printed in black and white. The facts of discrimination claims, motives, and biases often prove to be gray in the end.

Restrictive covenant agreements, RCAs, including noncompetition, nonsolicitation clauses, if clearly and legally written, will be enforced.

Here’s a video of Urba discussing a recent court decision to that effect. When those agreements are not against New York’s public policy, are otherwise not illegal, they are enforced. The YouTube video link:


Unlike the printed black and white language of agreements, even the best employment lawyers can’t make up strong facts yielding great results. That requires broad, industry experience and distinguishing opinions from facts. Here are some examples:

“I feel I was discriminated” is not a fact. It’s an opinion.

“I was wrongfully terminated” is not a fact. It’s an opinion.

“I worked in a hostile workplace” is not a fact. It’s an opinion.

Urba has substantial, on-the-job experience, even before attending law school or embarking on the practice of law, in each of the following industries:

Many of these industries are organizational behavior-focused. Anxiety and depression affect many, industry and pandemic irrelevant. The ADA and FMLA will continue playing key roles. But not everyone will benefit from them. Here’s a brief talk about the challenges employees face in disclosing facts, maybe not diagnoses, supported by carefully written medical opinions when requesting accommodations or leave at work: https://urbaemploymentlaw.com/workplace-depression-fmla-ada-considerations-in-new-york/

Urba Law keeps up with the swift pace of changing laws. Decades of labor and employment law experience hone in on key facts, applying unique legal theories following admission to several, state Bars across the country. Urba Law limits its practice to New York State for more than the past decade, with greater than 20 years of employment law experience.

Each employee’s facts are unique. Their backgrounds are unique. Career struggles and hardships are unique. These facts must be expressed in writing as well as verbally and doing so takes time and commitment. They must be tied to communication, events, or overt acts to prove discriminatory animus. This is never easy and our skilled colleagues never imply that anyone’s employment law complaint is a slam dunk regardless of the facts. Commitment and patience from employees and their employment lawyers are required. Here are some of the laws:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

New York State Human Rights Law aka the Executive Law

Equal Pay Act expanded by New York

Americans with Disabilities Act expanded by New York

Fair Labor Standards Act and New York’s Labor Laws

Age Discrimination in Employment Act expanded by New York

A hostile workplace is more than just a nasty or unpleasant one. It has to include some type of discrimination. Calling those claims discriminatory hostile workplace claims makes sense. Most commonly included are:

1. Race, color discrimination

2. National origin, ethnicity, ancestry discrimination

3. Sex, gender discrimination

4. Disability, perceived disability discrimination

5. Severance, noncompetition agreements, employment offers and contracts

6. State and local government civil servant protection when discriminated

7. Unfair pay practices related to gender, sex, and other protected classes as well as misclassified salaried employees who were entitled to overtime compensation which was unpaid


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Excluding improper pay practices, few employees remain with the same employer once they have litigated or even filed a formal court complaint against an employer. It’s common practice to ask what a prospective client may seek because severance usually follows. Urba Law’s severance blog, aka Employment Law Reality Check, talks about frequently asked questions: https://urbaemploymentlaw.com/severance-blog/