Do I have a chance to sue even after signing waiver (under duress)?

Hello, Worked for two years for a company. in mid-town New York City. Last year around March became ill with what was then an unknown issue. Had stents put into my heart, but still had issues where I was sent to the Emergency Room at least 20 more times during the year randomly. I would end up working for a week or two then get sick for two weeks and be in the Hospital. The doctors could not figure it out. It was affecting work, and paying bills was tough since my wife was not working at the time. Long story short - I was fired when I got out of the hospital in January 2018. I signed a severance pay waiver that I would not sue etc the company for money (about 1 month's payment). I am not a lawyer and should have had one review this before signing -- I was under the impression I would be paid right there and then. Hence it was signed under duress. Two weeks later they paid me and then when I went to file unemployment they would not let me do it till 4 weeks after the initial 2 weeks because they said it was NOT a lump sum payment. Later I came to also realize the company would not give me a reference - something that I was verbally told they would do before signing the agreement. I believe I was unjustly fired and it was under duress. My diagnoses later was that I had Celiac (alergic to gluten) and I have been fine ever since (have not been to the hospital once since released). it has been hard to find a job thus far. I seem to get to the interview phases, but think the company might be saying bad things to potential companies I am applying to. Thanks

1 answer  |  asked Apr 18, 2018 3:09 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

V Jonas Urba
Similar to constructive discharge. Tough but not impossible.

Have a lawyer review your agreement thoroughly. The longer you wait the less likely you might have an argument to make.

Unemployment benefits are pursuant to new state laws. The DOL wants people to recover benefits so long as everyone complies with the same laws and regulations. They were probably correct but have your counsel review that as well.

I am sorry to hear about your illness / disease. Sounds like you work in one of the 5 Burroughs. The New York City Human Rights Law is one of the most inclusive in the nation. Be thankful. You probably have a lot more rights than employees in almost any other part of the country. Make sure you consult with an employment lawyer next time.

If you believe that you are being blacklisted try to gather as much information as you can. New laws prohibit employers from discriminating against disabled, perceived disabled, and especially persons who are currently unemployed. Try to find out, in a civil manner, what criteria you may be missing or who the successful candidates have been. What are their educations, experience, and skill sets?

It's a very competitive market out there and discrimination does not include hiring the most qualified candidate. Keep records of every job you apply for and take notes of every question you are asked. Even today, some employers ask illegal questions during interviews. Keep copies of applications you submit.

It might pay to pay an employment lawyer to spend an hour or two with you discussing your specific duties, experience, and how you might better land a job. It sounds like your life is back on track and the right mindset, directed toward specific goals will probably land you in a great job. This is New York. It does not get any better than here even during these tough times. Good luck!

posted by V Jonas Urba  |  Apr 18, 2018 3:42 PM [EST]

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