What Constitutes Wrongful Termination In Illinois?
May 10, 2023
Illinois is an ‘at will’ state for employment, meaning companies can fire you anytime and for any reason. However, if you are discriminated against and let go, this is against the law. Learn details about wrongful termination below, and contact our Chicago wrongful termination lawyer at Law Office of Michael Smith if you believe you were illegally fired.
How Is Wrongful Termination Defined In Illinois?
Wrongful termination occurs when an organization violates the exceptions to the at-will employment laws of Illinois. These exceptions are:
● Retaliating for whistleblowing and other protected actions
● Firing an employee for taking time off work
● Violating the employee’s contract
Illinois organizations can fire workers without reason, but you are protected in Illinois from being fired for your age, race, sex, disabilities, and national origin. You cannot be terminated for citizenship status, religion, marital status, or pregnancy.
The law applies to companies with at least 15 workers for most of these types of discrimination. However, the law against age discrimination only applies to companies with at least 20 workers. The law against firing people for citizenship status applies to companies with four or more workers, but all Illinois organizations must comply with the law banning discrimination against disabilities.
What Is Wrongful Termination For Taking Time Off Work?
State and federal laws protect you when taking time off work in certain situations, including personal responsibilities and civic requirements. For example, you cannot be terminated for taking the following types of leave:
● Up to five years of military leave
● Jury duty
● Taking up to 12 weeks annually for family and medical leave
● Taking time off to see a child or spouse who was deployed in the military or to get medical treatment
When Is Termination Legal In Illinois?
Not every termination in Illinois is illegal. For example, you can be legally fired for poor performance, subpar work quality, improper behavior on the job, disrespectfulness, being late, and insubordination.
What Can You Receive In A Wrongful Termination Claim?
The most common compensation for a wrongful termination claim is monetary damages. However, you also can receive compensation if you file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
The amount of damages you receive in the case depends mainly on the facts of the specific situation. Some injuries you could receive in your claim include:
● Back pay
● Lost earnings
● Medical expenses
● Costs of finding new work
● Lost fringe benefits
● Attorney’s fees
● Pain and suffering
● Punitive damages
However, note that damages for pain and suffering, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees are seldom awarded. The court also may decide to compensate you in these ways:
● Writing an injunction to prevent the company from doing the same thing again
● Ordering the organization to rewrite its hiring and termination policies according to the law
Speak To Our Chicago Wrongful Termination Lawyer Today
Some wrongful termination cases are difficult to prove because Illinois is an at-will employment state. Collecting convincing evidence that you were illegally terminated can also be challenging. With an excellent attorney, however, it is possible to prevail. You have rights under Illinois law if you believe you were wrongly terminated. Speak to our Chicago wrongful termination lawyer at Law Office of Michael Smith at (847)-466-1099.