Can You Be Fired for Filing Bankruptcy?

Many people who file for bankruptcy in New York have fears about their relatives, friends, neighbors, and employers discovering that they have filed for bankruptcy. They try to hide this fact from everyone. Many people who would greatly benefit from filing for bankruptcy under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 are reluctant to do so because the perception among some people is that it is shameful to file for bankruptcy.  I spend a considerable amount of time explaining to my clients that there is nothing shameful about filing for bankruptcy.

A lot of people are scared that their employers would find out that they filed for bankruptcy. They are afraid that their employers might fire them from their jobs if employers find out about their bankruptcy filing. They try as much as possible to hide their filing for bankruptcy because of this sense of insecurity.

The debtors should not be concerned since federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against them or from terminating their employment solely because of the debtor’s bankruptcy filing. Specifically, the bankruptcy code’s non-discrimination provision, 11 U.S.C. section 525(b), states as follows:

No private employer may terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, an individual who is or has been a debtor under this title … solely because such debtor … is or has been a debtor under this title…. 11 U.S.C. sec. 525(b).

One caveat to the above provision is that the Bankruptcy Code prohibits discrimination solely on the basis of the bankruptcy filing. It will not protect an employee who is having other employment-related problems.

The reality now is that a great number of people in Rochester, New York, or elsewhere in Western New York, have filed or are filing for bankruptcy. For a business having employees who file for bankruptcy is simply a fact of life.  In many respects, it is better for the employer to have an employee file for bankruptcy, so that the employee is not spending time answering phone calls from the debt collectors, or that employer does not have to waste time garnishing the employer’s wages. In today’s economy, bankruptcy is a reality that everyone is facing, and so companies would rather not do anything that would appear to be a form of discrimination against their employees.

If you contemplating filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, or are dealing with debt problems in Western New York, including Rochester, New York, Canandaigua, Brighton, Pittsford, Penfield, Perinton, Fairport, Webster, Victor, Farmington, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Parma, Brockport, Spencerport, LeRoy, Chili, Churchville, Monroe County, Ontario County, Wayne County, Orleans County, Livingston County, and being harassed by bill collectors, and would like to know more about how bankruptcy may be able to help you, contact me today by phone or email to schedule a FREE initial consultation with a Rochester, NY, bankruptcy lawyer.

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