Lawyers for Financial Professionals in New York
Helping You Take Legal Action Against Your Employer
As a banking professional or executive, you are in a position of great responsibility, and you uphold your duties with honesty and integrity. While you are working your hardest to protect the interests of the financial institution for which you work, you expect the company to adhere to its obligations concerning your employment with fairness. Unfortunately, that does not always happen, and you might find yourself in a civil dispute with your employer. Whether your case arises from unlawful retaliation, discrimination, or sexual harassment, you need a lawyer working for you to protect your rights.
Many employment disputes involving financial institutions can be resolved outside of court/arbitration. At Nisar Law Group, P.C., our New York employment law attorneys are skilled negotiators who will work toward a fair settlement for you. However, if your matter must be litigated, we are prepared to go to court/arbitration and argue your case there. Our employment law attorneys understand that the outcome of your case can have lasting impacts on your career and livelihood, which is why we will advocate effectively with your interest at heart.
Do you need to take legal action against your employer? Call us at (646) 760-6493 today to discuss your case.
Representing Financial and Banking Professionals in a Variety of Legal Matters
As with many other professions, when accepting a position as a financial professional or executive, you enter into various contracts and agreements establishing obligations by which you and your employer must abide. If your employer breaches your contract or violates employment laws, you have the right to take legal action against them.
Pursuing a lawsuit against your employer is not always easy. It requires a thorough understanding of the laws concerning your rights. Further, you will be going up against a company and its lawyers who will be doing everything to show that they are not liable for any wrongdoing. These pressures, on top of the stresses of your career being in jeopardy, can cause substantial frustrations. Our New York employment law attorneys will handle the nuances of your case, examine the details of your situation, review and analyze your documents, and evaluate all relevant facts, to work towards righting the wrongs you’ve suffered.
FINRA Form U4 - Arbitration of Employment Disputes
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) is a non-governmental private corporation that regulates brokerage firms and exchange markets and has the authority to discipline its member firms and individuals for violations of securities laws and rules. The government agency which oversees the entire securities industry, including FINRA, is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
When registering and hiring new employees/representatives, financial services firms must provide their employees with a Form U4, which is then electronically filed with FINRA. When employees sign their Form U4, they also receive an arbitration disclosure, specifically informing them that they are waiving their right to sue in court for any claims they have against their employer, which courts have found to be an enforceable arbitration agreement. However, certain employment claims are not arbitrable under FINRA rules, including class action lawsuits as well as collective action lawsuits.
Nondiscretionary Versus Discretionary Bonuses
Many financial services employees rely heavily on an anticipated annual bonus when deciding whether to accept a job. However, an employee’s right to receive a bonus payment depends on whether the bonus is discretionary or nondiscretionary. As a general rule, an employee has no legal right to compensation under a discretionary bonus plan. A bonus is deemed discretionary if both the fact and amount of the payment are determined in the sole discretion of the company. Nondiscretionary bonuses are based on either a fixed or guaranteed number or based on the performance of the employer, the employee, or a combination of the employer and the employee.
In New York, discretionary bonuses are not considered wages. Conversely, a nondiscretionary bonus is considered wages and failure to pay it may subject the employer to penalties under the New York Labor Law.
Form U5 Termination Notice/Expungement
When firms terminate the employment/registration of registered representatives, they must provide the employee with a Form U5, which provides a reason and explanation for the termination. The firm must also file the Form U5 with FINRA within 30 days of the employee’s termination.
Form U5 follows employees throughout their careers and can affect their future employment. As such, registered representatives may want to revise or expunge certain information contained on their Form U5. However, expungement is widely accepted as a remedy, not a private right of action. This means that a claim for expungement cannot be brought on its own and instead must be part of a larger discrimination claim, breach of contract claim, or other claim against the employer.
With respect to non-compete agreements or non-solicitation agreements, FINRA prohibits firms from interfering with a customer’s request to transfer an account if that customer decides to follow the employee to another firm where there is no existing dispute with the customer. However, a non-solicitation clause that prohibits the employee from soliciting customers may be enforceable because FINRA only addresses transfer requests initiated by the customer and not solicitation by the employee.
Whistleblower Anti-Retaliation Protections
The Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) was enacted to promote corporate accountability, protect investors, and protect whistleblowers. SOX specifically prohibits adverse employment actions against whistleblowers. SOX provides whistleblower protections for individuals who report about any action or inaction that the individual reasonably believes is a violation of a covered law to federal regulatory bodies or law enforcement agencies, members of Congress or congressional committees, and/or supervisors or persons authorized by the employer to investigate, discover, or terminate misconduct.
The Dodd-Frank Act (Dodd-Frank) amended SOX and created new protections and incentives for whistleblowers to report corporate wrongdoing. To be covered under Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers must report a specific violation of securities laws or commodities laws. Complaints about violations of general banking regulations are not covered. Unlike with SOX, which covers internal as well as external whistleblowing, an individual generally must report information to the SEC to meet the definition of a whistleblower under Dodd-Frank. Qualified whistleblowers who report both to the SEC and internally but suffer retaliation only because of their internal report are protected by Dodd-Frank.
Here for You from Start to Finish
At Nisar Law Group, P.C., our New York employment law attorneys are here to provide the legal representation you deserve. We will thoroughly examine your case to understand the truth of the matter and build a solid legal strategy on your behalf. Our lawyers will zealously advocate for you and will focus on your best interests as we seek a favorable resolution in your case. Backed by extensive legal experience, we have an in-depth understanding of the law and are familiar with the processes involved in resolving civil disputes within the financial industry.