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New York Court Discusses Notice Requirements for Employment Claims

January 13, 2021

People who work for municipalities or other public corporations are not immune from unjust treatment in the workplace. They are subject to additional notice requirements if they wish to seek claims against their employers, though, and the failure to provide adequate notice could ultimately result in a waiver of the right to recover damages. The consequences of failing to properly apprise an employer of a potential claim were discussed in a recent opinion issued by a New York court in a case in which the plaintiff asserted wrongful termination claims. If your employer fired you in violation of the law, it would benefit you to consult a New York wrongful termination attorney to assess your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

Reportedly, the plaintiff began working as an employee of the defendant county in 2005. In 2018, while working in the Sheriff’s Department, he found an ammunition magazine pouch in the drawer of a desk and moved it to the top of a gun box. About a week later, he was accused of stealing the ammunition magazine. He was advised he could resign or face criminal charges. He was then placed on administrative leave, and shortly thereafter, he was terminated and arrested.

It is alleged that the plaintiff was ultimately cleared of all charges. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting numerous claims, including wrongful termination. Prior to filing his complaint, he sent a written notice of claim to the defendant, as required by N.Y. Gen. Mun. L. § 50-e. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, which was granted, but the plaintiff was granted leave to amend. He filed a proposed amended complaint, which the defendant moved to dismiss as well.

Notice of Claims Against Public Corporations

The defendant moved to dismiss the proposed amended complaint due to the fact that it set forth allegations not contained in the notice of claim. The court noted that, generally, state notice of claim laws apply to state law claims that are asserted in federal actions. Pursuant to the relevant statute, a notice of claim must set forth, in part, the nature of the claim, the manner, time, and place in which the claim arose, and the damages sustained.

Each cause of action set forth in the notice needs to be set forth exactly as it is asserted in the complaint, but the details regarding the time, manner, and place pertaining to the claim must be sufficient to allow the defendant to investigate the claim. In the subject case, the defendant argued that the amended cause of action for wrongful termination was not in the notice of claim. The court agreed and granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Speak to a Trusted Employment Attorney in New York

If you unjustly lost your job due to your employer’s discriminatory practices, you could be owed compensation, and you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The trusted employment attorneys of Gerstman Schwartz LLP are adept at helping victims of wrongful termination in the pursuit of damages, and if we represent you, we will advocate tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us via our form online or by calling us at our Manhattan office at (212) 227-7070 or our Garden City office at (516) 880-8170 to set up a meeting.

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