Illinois Wrongful Termination

Being fired from a job is never easy, especially if no reason for the termination is given, and in Illinois, at-will employment laws allow employers to fire employees without cause, under certain circumstances. However, there are also protections in place for Illinois employees, and federal and state wrongful termination laws prohibit employers from firing employees for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons, or in violation of an employment contract. If you believe you have been the victim of wrongful termination in Illinois, contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney today for legal help. You may have grounds to file a wrongful termination claim against your employer, in order to pursue financial compensation for lost wages and other related damages.

Illinois At-Will Employment Statute

Like many other states, Illinois is an at-will employment state, which means employers have the right to fire employees at any time, and for any reason, or for no reason at all. In fact, in all states except Montana, employment relationships are presumed to be at-will, which means employees can be fired without cause. However, there are state and federal antidiscrimination laws in place that make it illegal for an Illinois employer to treat a person or group of people differently from another person or groups of people at work, including firing them because of their membership in a legally protected category. Illinois employees who believe they were wrongfully terminated have a limited period of time from the date the termination occurred to bring a claim against their employer.

Types of Wrongful Termination in Illinois

There are three main exceptions to the at-will presumption in Illinois, and these exceptions make it illegal for employers to fire an employee for reasons that fall under the following categories:

  • Discrimination – It is against the law for an employer in Illinois to terminate an employment relationship for discriminatory reasons, or because of the employee’s membership in a protected category, such as age, race, religion, sex, national origin or disability. Illinois employees who believe they have been fired on the basis of a protected characteristic may have a wrongful termination claim against their employer.
  • Retaliation – An employee’s termination from employment may be considered wrongful if the employer’s action were in retaliation for the employee engaging in legally proper or necessary activities, such as claiming minimum wage, opposing workplace discrimination, “whistleblowing,” or filing for workers’ compensation. Violation of public policy also falls under this category, which means Illinois employers cannot legally fire an employee for refusing to perform an illegal act, for reporting a violation of the law, for exercising a statutory right, or for fulfilling certain civic duties.
  • Breach of contract – If an employee has a written, oral or implied employment contract that promises job security or protects the employee from termination without cause, the employer may have to show proof that the employment discharge is based on job performance, the company’s financial hardship, or another qualifying factor, in order to avoid charges of wrongful termination.

Contact a Skilled Illinois Wrongful Termination Attorney Today

Antidiscrimination laws in Illinois prohibit discrimination in nearly every aspect of employment, including hiring, promotions, benefits, pay, discipline, or firing, known as wrongful termination. If you have been fired from your job in Illinois, and you believe your employer’s decision was based on reasons that violate your rights as an employee, such as discrimination or retaliation, consult an experienced Illinois wrongful termination lawyer to discuss your legal options. With a knowledgeable attorney on your side, you may be able to recover damages associated with your discharge from employment, such as lost wages or benefits, which you can pursue by filing a wrongful termination claim against your employer.