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V. Jonas Urba

V. Jonas Urba

Urba Law Firm
  • Employment Law, Arbitration & Mediation, Civil Rights
  • Massachusetts, New York
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Summary

My undergraduate degree is from Indiana University, I have an MBA from the University of South Florida, and I graduated from Valparaiso University School of Law in Valparaiso, Indiana.

For the past 30 years I have practiced law around the country. Although I have an inactive license in Massachusetts my law practice is limited to New York federal, state, administrative, and alternative dispute resolution forums affecting New York employees or employers; regardless of current location.

I spent a total of 8 years defending a 2,000 employee state regulatory agency, a professional employer organization, and private employers and insurers in labor and employment matters before the EEOC, the Department of Labor, the Public Employees Relations Commission, the Division of Human Rights, the Division of Administrative Hearings, and several federal and state courts throughout Florida.

For about 7 years I represented Florida's most discriminated class of residents. I was invited to speak as a panel member, by a nationally recognized human rights organization, at a continuing legal education seminar at the University of Miami School of Law in 2007. I shared my work product, experiences, and legal strategies with more than 100 lawyers during that seminar.

My current practice is limited to New York State. I represent primarily employees in labor and employment law matters and have more than 10 years experience on the employee side. I occasionally represent small employers but the bulk of my practice is employee side. I enjoy wage and hour, employee mis-classification, disability and perceived disablility discrimination as well as "MeToo" and other Title VII claims including gender non-conformity charges.

Labor and employment law is constantly changing. Representing clients state-wide, our first conference will be by phone. We will decide 1) whether you have a potential claim and, if yes, 2) whether we can work with each other? Few claims are "easy." Retain counsel carefully!

Practice Areas
  • Employment Law
  • Arbitration & Mediation
  • Civil Rights
Fees
  • Free Consultation
    Initial telephone conference.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
    All major credit cards.
  • Contingent Fees
    The facts of each case determine whether contingent fees are appropriate. Litigation always costs money and someone must pay. The type of case and amount of potential damages determine fees.
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Fees can be flat fees, hourly fees, contingent fees, or hybrid agreements. They can include reduced hourly and multiple other combinations.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Colorado
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Florida
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Massachusetts
New York
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Labor and Employment Attorney
Urba Law Firm
- Current
Employment discrimination, EEOC, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, CHRL, FLSA, WTPA, severance agreements, sexual harassment, unemployment, agency administrative actions
Discrimination Attorney
Law Offices of Jonas Urba, P.A.
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Represented the most discriminated segment of the population at that time.
Labor and Employment Attorney
Modern Business Associates, Inc.
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EEOC, Title VII, Department of Labor, sexual harassment, employment discrimination, employer policies and procedures, unemployment, internal and external employee conduct investigations
Labor and Employment Attorney
Fowler White Boggs Banker, P.A.
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Represented carriers and employers.
Labor and Employment Attorney
Miller Kagan Rodriguez & Silver, P.A.
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Represented carriers and employers.
Labor and Employment Attorney
Law Office of Jonas Urba, P.C.
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Employment discrimination, EEOC, Title VII, ADA, severance agreements, agency administrative actions, unemployment, sexual harassment, FLSA, FMLA
Labor and Employment Attorney
McCrea & Keck, LLC
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Represented carriers and employers.
Assistant General Counsel
State of Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation
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Civil servant. Represented management and human resources in agency administrative actions, public employees relations commission actions, federal, state, and administrative forums.
Labor and Employment Attorney
Law Office of Joseph A. Vassallo, P.A.
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Represented injured and disabled employees at administrative agency actions and drafted documents to resolve claims.
Assistant State Attorney
20th Judicial Circuit Office of the State Attorney
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Prosecuted criminal cases.
Education
Valparaiso University School of Law
J.D. (1988) | Law
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University of South Florida
MBA (1983) | Business Administration
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Indiana University - Indiana University-Bloomington
B.S. (1980) | Psychology, Business Administration
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Awards
Highest Scholastic Achievement
Valparaiso University School of Law
Professional Associations
National Employment Lawyers Association, New York
Member
Current
New York City Bar Association
Member
Current
New York State Bar Association # 4974333
Member
Current
Westchester County Bar Association
Member
Current
Publications
Articles & Publications
Do Statutory Rights Mean What They Say?
Florida Bar - Administrative Law Section Newsletter
Speaking Engagements
Strategies to Protect Non-Traditional Families, University of Miami Law School / NCLR, Miami, Florida
NCLR
Florida continuing legal education workshop / seminar. Panel member / speaker.
Certifications
Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil and County Court Mediator (2004 - 2010)
Florida Supreme Court
Websites & Blogs
Website
The Urba Law Firm
Legal Answers
248 Questions Answered

Q. As an independent contractor, can my employer require that I pursue continuing education "training?"
A: Firstly, are you sure that you are an "independent contractor"? How much control does your employer exercise over you? You may actually be an employee. And if you are not paid at least minimum wages, after accounting for the cost of training, all the hours you are required to be available for or work, etc... that might be unlawful? Independent contractor status is not determined by or subject exclusively to the language of your contract. It's determined by the IRS for tax purposes, by the Department of Labor for unemployment, and there are even different criteria for workers compensation. Employees and employers do not determine your status even if you both employer and you actually think that you are "independent." Of course, if additional training is required, beyond what the state requires, that factor is one among many which supports an argument that your employer may have greater control over your work and how you do it than you do which could backfire on your employer? Assuming they do not decide to end their relationship with you. And there will be a complex, long list of considerations to evaluate what you actually were in relation to the business which paid you for performing services. Never simple. So the bottom line is that maybe, to keep your job, whatever you actually are, you might want to complete the training? But then again, your "employer" may have misclassified you, and if that's what they did, they could, potentially, owe you money in the end. Seek legal counsel for further consideration or suggestions.
Q. Job Interview Process Legal?
A: Probably legal unless it is governed by collective bargaining agreements, public education and funding laws, or some established policy akin to a rule or regulation which an applicant happens to be familiar with. Selection of employees tends to be fairly subjective, even when essential skills or experience are publicly posted. Most are rather vague and innocuous to give those who select sufficient independent discretion when deciding. Do you have reason to believe that their recent hiring decisions are inherently biased or exclude qualified candidates who belong to one or more protected classes of applicants (think Title VII, ADA, ADEA here). It requires a bit of detective work. For example, were they to contact 20 or 30 potential candidates and several of one gender were available during the mornings of the next 3 days while others of the opposite gender were not and they decided, during the process of calling, to exclude those of the opposite gender by scheduling all interviews at the time when more candidates of the preferred gender were available, such a process would likely incorporate a gender bias because the interviewer decided when to schedule interviews, knowing that few if any members of the non-preferred gender would be available during those hours. Such inherent bias could apply for race, national origin or other protected classes as well. I recently learned that one professional's office "just wanted to see what a potential manager looked like" before that manager was hired on the spot. That type of hiring practice is not necessarily discriminatory but the comment implies some inherent bias or possible prejudice. Proving that is where we earn our keep. Your instinct is probably correct. There may very likely have been bias in selection. It could have been how you sounded, confirming your ethnic background from your surname, females being too masculine or males not masculine enough, and that list goes on and on. But an unsuccessful applicant must still prove they were qualified and but for the applicant's membership in one or more protected classes they were denied the interview which, had they been invited, should have resulted in their being offered conditional employment. The school knows that few will sue or threaten to sue them. If this is not the first time this has happened to you and you recognize something about yourself that you believe falls within a protected class of applicant then you should consult with a skilled employment lawyer. I represent more and more clients who I never meet in person. But there is always something I miss when I don't actually see someone. Keen listening helps me decide who I potentially want to represent and it may have permitted this school to unlawfully exclude you from consideration because of your membership in one or more protected classes or possibly just the tone of your voice. Only a legal consultation might reveal which it may have been. Follow your instinct and good luck.
Q. When fingerprinted for employment in NYS .How many years they do a CBC
A: I think a more important question might be the type of criminal conviction involved. I understand that you do not and should not post specific details about past criminal acts on line, anywhere, ever. New York City job applicants are now protected by recent "ban the box" legislation. Any employer in any of the five Burroughs bans the box. They don't ask about prior criminal activity although they have to provide notice to you that you are entitled to and should insist on a copy of any CBC report if you are offered conditional employment (i.e. "we will hire you as long as your CBC is consistent with our business necessity) so that you can rebut or correct it. All New York State job applicants are covered as follows, per NYS Department of Labor: https://www.labor.ny.gov/careerservices/ace/employers.shtm Scan down the first page and note whether there is a "direct relationship" between the prior criminal conviction and the job or position sought by an applicant. For example, if you had a history of passing bad checks (i.e. check kiting) and the CBC revealed those convictions, there is a pretty strong likelihood that no financial institution would hire you for a position where you might have access to customers' personal financial information. Don't apply for jobs where there is a "direct relationship" with your prior conviction(s) regardless of how old they are and you should be a lot better off in New York than in many other states around the country. If you discover that ancient convictions are affecting your employability then retain a criminal defense counselor at law to attempt sealing or expungement if possible.
Q. b. What if a manager harasses both male and female employees equally, Y does this not fall under title VII
A: Was the harassment "because of sex"? Being nasty or uncivil or mean to employees is not harassment. The United States Supreme Court has said that employment laws are not a civility code. An employer might be able to call employees idiots. But not retards (regarded as disabled). And they can not call employees bitches (derogatory gender or because of sex to females) or maybe not even wimps if they are males because that implies they are not regarded as masculine enough or gender non conforming / because of sex. Seek legal counsel.
Q. a. What defenses does an employer have when an employee engages in actionable sexual harassment?
A: What did the employer know? What did the employer do? What training and notices did the employer provide? Most importantly, who was the accused in relation to the accuser? If the accused has a Ph.D. and the accuser has essentially no formal education - a 1 employee shop- there may be no defenses. Seek legal counsel. These are never easy cases although most people think they are.
Q. Question re: contracts/the lack thereof- please help! Continued in 'more information'...
A: You would not be asking your question unless you were concerned about something you may have posted on line or in emails. If you are seeking a legal opinion you can rely on you should pay someone like us to review everything and provide you with such an opinion. Generally agreements must be in writing but there are almost always exceptions.
Q. I worked for a small business that never had me fill out and sign employee paperwork?
A: In New York State every employee is entitled to be paid for all hours worked including tips / tip credits. Contact the NYS Department of Labor if you do not receive all the money you believe you are entitled to receive. If you think you qualify file a claim for unemployment benefits being fully candid about the facts. Of course had you committed gross misconduct you would likely be denied benefits and could face other claims or charges.
Q. I live in nyc gave my employer 30 days notice and i want to quit within the 2 weeks notice, can i get introuble?
A: Employment "at will" means what it says. You can be fired for a good, a bad, or no reason at all at any time. Similarly, you can quit at any time with or without notice. However, if you have a written contract of employment the terms of that agreement govern (usually that includes a start and an end date). You will not receive unemployment benefits. If you notified your employer, preferably in writing, that you will quit in 30 days and they fired you after 2 weeks and did not pay you for the full 30 days that would be the fault of the employer and you could collect unemployment benefits assuming you otherwise qualified. In your scenario you it will be your fault for quitting without having another job lined up so don't count on unemployment benefits. No employer in the U.S. has to be civil or nice to any other employee. We have no anti-bullying or civility requiring laws in workplaces throughout the country. No one has to be nice. However, they may not discriminate against you because of your membership in a protected class of employees (national origin, gender, race, religion, etc... all the Title VII classes plus disability, pregnancy, age, and a possibly a few others such as criminal records, bad credit, recovered substance abuser, etc...). Good luck. If in doubt pay for a consultation with an employment lawyer just to make sure you have been paid all of your wages at the appropriate rate because it's always easier to negotiate any type of severance agreement while still on the payroll.
Q. Does call fat person a cow at anger moment consider be a crime ? or i can be sued for it ?
A: If the person is grossly obese, generally about 100 or more pounds above their optimal or recommended BMI, and a medical professional opines that their obesity is associated with a disease or illness, you could be guilty of discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended or gender discrimination, because of sex, since you referred to the person as "feminine" regardless of whether they actually are. This would apply were you and this person working for the same employer or even if one of you was an independent contractor. Criminally, without intentional, provable, acts or threats, no assault or battery. Otherwise, your "at will" employment could be in jeopardy if you posted that opinion on social media, etc... Although the First Amendment is alive and well, in the employment setting, assuming your "employment at will" status (most employees are), common law doctrines are very much alive in New York State. A few are called your Duty of Loyalty to your employer (your employer should not discriminate against the grossly obese and neither should you), your Master Servant relationship meaning that your employer determines your code of conduct, often even when you are not at work, and your duty not to be a Faithless Servant (especially if instructed not to insult others, don't). Never put negative comments in writing. That includes on-line postings. Your next potential supervisor may have been obese - "potential" because an obese person is not likely to hire you once you advertise your opinion(s).
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Urba Law PLLC dba Urba Law Firm
520 White Plains Rd., Ste. 500
Tarrytown, NY 10591
USA
Telephone: (914) 366-7366
Cell: (914) 826-7721
New York City Bar Association
42 West 44th Street
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10036
USA
Telephone: (914) 366-7366