New York State is an employment-at-will state, which means that unless you are under contract or public sector, you can be fired for any or no reason at all. Both State and Federal law make it illegal to discriminate or retaliate against someone in the terms of their employment based on the individual’s age, sex, race, nationality, ethnicity, disability status, and religion.
New York State law further prohibits an employer from discriminating or retaliating against an individual on the basis of his or her political affiliation or marital status. (Public sector employees are afforded protection from discrimination on the basis of their political affiliation, marital status, and freedom of speech rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which is covered under the Constitutional Law Practice Area section.)
If you are the victim of discrimination and/or retaliation and wish to pursue litigation under the Federal laws of the United States, you must first file a charge of discrimination within 300 days of the last discriminatory act with your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and exhaust those procedures before you can commence legal action. Failure to file a timely and proper charge will restrict your ability to proceed in federal court.