Peter M. RiveraPartner
Many federal, state, and local laws protect employees. Whether you are concerned about discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or unpaid wages, Peter M. Rivera at Gerstman Schwartz can put his substantial trial skills to work on your behalf.
Mr. Rivera graduated with a Baccalaureate degree in Business Administration from Pace College and a Juris Doctorate from St. Johns Law School. He started out as a patrolman and detective in the Bronx. He worked as an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in which he had a critical role in Operation Eagle, a federal narcotics operation. He was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 1992, representing District 76, which consists of Van Nest, West Farms, Parkchester, and Castle Hill. Devoted to protecting the vulnerable, he served on the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Developmental Disabilities. He developed the Mental Hygiene Work Group to reorganize the state system for mental health and served as Chairman of the Assembly’s Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force. Under Governor Andrew Cuomo, he served as the New York State Commissioner of Labor. He carries his substantial and diverse experiences into his fight for workers’ rights.
After law school, Mr. Rivera served as Assistant District Attorney in the Homicide Bureau of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. He has built a storied, decades-long career as a trial attorney, trying many high-profile cases, both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. While serving as the President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, he doubled the number of Hispanic judges in New York.
Mr. Rivera is admitted to practice law in the state of New York. He lives in the Bronx and has two children.
Mr. Rivera and his colleagues recognize that employees in New York City are vulnerable to abuses of authority by their employers. Employers may fail to honor their obligations under wage and hour laws or discrimination laws. They may fail to hire a job applicant because of his religious background, or they may fail to adequately investigate and respond to a complaint of sexual harassment. They may try to retaliate against whistleblowers or people who exercise their right to file a charge of discrimination or harassment.
You deserve to be treated fairly and in accordance with federal, state, and local laws when you go to work. If your employer committed a legal violation, or if you were punished for reporting that legal violation within the company or to an authority outside it, you should consult Peter M. Rivera or one of our other attorneys about your potential remedies. It may be appropriate to sue for damages or pursue other forms of relief.
Many employment claims are based on a wrongful termination. You are an at-will employee in New York unless your employment contract states otherwise. There are situations in which an employment contract states that an employee can be terminated only for “just cause,” or once the employee’s term of employment has concluded. Contracts may define what “just cause” for termination would be. Otherwise, your employer can terminate you for any legal reason. However, your employer is not allowed to terminate you in violation of an employment contract or its company manual. It cannot terminate you in violation of any applicable statutes, whether they prohibit discrimination or retaliation against a whistleblower.
If you are terminated for an illegal reason, you may be able to sue for wrongful termination. For example, if you complained to HR that your manager was sexually harassing you, and then you were fired for not being a team player, you may have claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
Peter M. Rivera understands that it can be daunting to confront your employer about discrimination or other illegal conduct in the workplace. If you are considering taking legal action, you should consult Peter M. Rivera or one of the other aggressive and knowledgeable trial attorneys at Gerstman Schwartz. Call us at (212) 227-7070 or contact us via our online form.
J.D., St. Johns Law School