Hello I am a licensed attorney here to help you with your question, please review my response and do not hesitate to ask for clarification
In NY, an employer can terminate any employee for any reason, at anytime, except if it violates a written contract, or union agreement,
or is based upon the employees race, gender, age etc.
The employee is openly homosexual, but has been with us 4 months. Can he claim sexual preference to be discriminatory?
it is possible, but it would be a hard argument, if you hired him knowing his sexual orientation,
also if he missed work due to the arrest, that by itself would be grounds for a termination,
NY is an at will State, so any termination is allowed, unless it violates his protected civil rights,
If you just discovered he was homosexual, and terminated him, that may be an issue
Can the reason given to him be that his involvement in the case being investigated is damaging to the reputation of the company?
yes, but in NY no reason is needed, I would rather terminate him or suspend him until the criminal matter is resolved.
The reason I am hesitant in giving a reason is that if the charges are cleared he can come back to you and ask for his job back,
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.
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That answers my questions. Thank you.
You can also offer him a severance,
where you give him one weeks pay if he signs a release of all future claims,
which in NY is given to avoid any future issues.
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