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Commercial Division Blog

Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts
Posted: August 8, 2015

Employment Agreement With a Fixed Term Can Only Be Terminated for Just Cause

On July 22, 2015, Justice Singh of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Stoler v. Herald National Bank, 2015 NY Slip Op. 31361(U), holding that an employer breached an employment agreement by dismissing an employee with a fixed-term employment contract without just cause before the end of the term, explaining that “[i]n New York, an employment or consulting contract for a definite stated term can only be terminated for just cause. Where an agreement does not impose any express conditions upon an individual with respect to performance of duties, but merely states that the employment shall continue for a fixed number of years, the employee is merely required to perform his work satisfactorily.” (Internal quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis added). Because the record showed that the plaintiff had performed “satisfactorily,” even if not as profitably as the defendant had expected, the court granted the plaintiff summary judgment.

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