Employers are well aware of the risks a disgruntled employee may pose during their employment and even after their employment has ended. Sometimes, however, employers do not discover an employee’s unscrupulous behavior until after an employee has sued their employer for violation of one or more employee protection statutes, i.e., the New York Labor Law (NYLL), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). These statutes, however, also contain prohibitions against retaliation, leading many employers to question whether they could or should countersue an employee for tortious conduct and potentially risk a claim for retaliation. The Second Circuit in Kim v. Lee, 2023 WL 2317248, 22-61 (2d Cir. March 2, 2023), shed some light on this topic and held that an employer’s counterclaim is retaliatory when it is baseless or frivolous. The Court did not, however, decide whether non-frivolous counterclaims might support a valid retaliation claim.
Read More >> The Intersection of Employer Counterclaims and Retaliation: An Analysis of the Second Circuit’s Recent Decision in Kim v. Lee