Employment & Workers’ Rights

Legal Services

Employment & Workers' Rights

***Corona Virus-Related Update***

    • New York State  is waiving the 7-Day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) closures or quarantines. APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT HERE.
    • Filing a new Unemployment Insurance claim? The day you should file is based on the first letter of your last name. For last names starting with A – F, file on Monday. For last names starting with G – N, file on Tuesday. For last names starting with O – Z, file on Wednesday. If you missed your filing day, file on Thursday or Friday. Filing later in the week will not delay your payments or affect the date of your claim; all claims are effective on the Monday of the week in which they are filed.
    • Questions about NYS Unemployment?  CHECK-OUT THE SEARCHABLE HANDBOOK HERE. Especially note the following FAQs:
      It’s unlikely I’ll be able to find another job in my old industry or occupation. What are “dislocated worker” services?
      A “dislocated worker” is someone who lost their job due to one of the following situations:
      • You were terminated or laid off from your job, are eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits and are identified by us as unlikely to return to your previous industry or occupation;
      • You lost your job as a result of a plant closing or substantial layoff;
      • You have been unemployed for a long time and are unlikely to get another job in the same or similar occupation; or
      • You were self-employed and are unemployed due to general economic conditions or a natural disaster.
      • You are a spouse of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty who has experienced a loss of employment as a direct result of relocation to accommodate a permanent change in duty station of such member
      You may also be considered a dislocated worker if you have been away from the labor force for many years. For example: you were a full-time homemaker and you must now return to the labor force because you have lost your source of income. As a dislocated worker, you may be eligible for retraining and other services. Contact a New York State Career Center for information about services available under this program. To find your closest New York State Career Center, go to www.labor.ny.gov/career-center-locator/ or call the New York State Department of Labor Contact Center at (888) 4-NYSDOL ((888) 469-7365) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m Monday – Friday.

Workers have rights and deserve to be treated fairly.  We help people with employment discrimination, wage and hour, equal pay, wrongful termination, reentry, and family and medical leave.  We also push for improved employment laws and effective job training to benefit our clients and strengthen the communities we serve.

We are here to help.

If you are experiencing issues at work, please apply here for free legal services or call (877) 777-6152.


Employers in New York State can change working conditions or discharge workers for any reason, or no reason, so long as the reason does not violate a contract or a provision of law; however, workers do have many rights at work.

Laws Protect Workers

Wage and Hour Laws – guarantee workers covered by the laws, minimum wages and overtime.

Anti-discrimination Law – protects workers covered by the laws from discrimination based on race, gender, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age and other characteristics in hiring, firing and terms and conditions of employment.

New York State Law

Federal Law

Worker Safety Laws guarantee workers a place of employment free from known and suspected health and safety hazards that can cause injury or death.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) – protects the rights of workers to organize, form, join and participate in unions and engage in concerted activity.

Civil Service Laws provide employment protections to government employees.

Many laws have anti-retaliation provisions which prohibit an employer from retaliating against a worker for exercising their rights under the law.

Assistance for Workers

Unemployment Insurance provides temporary partial replacement of wages for employees involuntarily unemployed through no fault of their own who have sufficient wages in covered employment who are ready willing and able to work and actively seeking work.

Workers Compensation is partial replacement of wages and or medical care related to workplace injuries.

New York State Disability provides temporary partial replacement of wages for workers who are unable to work because of an off the job injury or illness.

Unpaid FMLA Leave and ADA accommodations are available for workers who have to take time off to care for themselves due to a medical condition.

New York Paid Family Leave is temporary partial replacement of wages for workers who must take time off to care for an ill family member or a newborn or newly adopted child.

Publicly funded work supports, including child care, food stamps (aka SNAP), education and training, housing supports, health insurance, transportation programs, and income supplements, make it possible for low-income working parents to maintain stable employment, and improve their skills so they can move out of poverty.