In an unusual case that did not take place in New York, a company told some of their employees that they needed to sign a contract, called a "last chance agreement," that stated that the employees effectively could not seek legal relief or recourse following any sort of discriminatory actions against the employees.
According to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission district director, the company that issued these proposed contractual agreements "presented the victims in this case with a terrible, illegal choice: lose your job or lose your civil rights." All employees, whether in New York City, elsewhere in the state or more broadly the country, are all entitled to their civil rights. This is protected under federal law.
The district director further issued a statement to the effect that there is no circumstance under which forcing an employee to forgo their legal protection is okay. Instead of looking to subvert an employee's rights, employers should look for hostile free and productive work environments.
Accordingly, some employees issued complaints with this scenario and when the company pushed back through retaliation, the employees sought legal recourse. Recently, the subsequent retaliation lawsuit was settled for $500,000.
When an employee's rights are not protected, there can be a number of scenarios that result, including termination. In such scenarios, employees are able to seek recourse to rectify the wrongs enacted against them in the workplace. An experienced attorney can greatly assist wronged employees in this pursuit of understanding their case and how best to proceed.
Source: EEOC Newsroom, "BASF Corporation to Pay $500,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit Against Cognis," Jan. 31, 2013
- Our firm has experience assisting employees similarly wronged in New York City. For more information, please refer to our New York wrongful termination page.