The majority of employees in Illinois are considered employed at-will. This means that most people can be dismissed or can quit without consequences. However, this does not mean that employees do not have any type of protection against unfair termination.
If you believe you were dismissed for unjust or illegal reasons, talk to a wrongful termination lawyer, such as those at Grupo MedLegal in Chicago, Illinois.
What Is At-Will Employment?
Unless there is a work contract or collective bargaining agreement, the employer has the right to dismiss an employee for any reason, without justification.
In Illinois, a termination is only unjust if it is due to discrimination, or for reasons that violate public policy.
When an employee is dismissed because of his or her race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, the employee may be able to make a claim to recover lost pay and other damages.
Also, characteristics such as age and disability are protected by the laws of Illinois and the federal government. A worker who is dismissed for one of these characteristics may file a lawsuit against the employer in state and federal courts.
Dismissal Against Public Policy
In addition to the characteristics already mentioned, an employee cannot be dismissed for reasons which go against public policy, and cannot be dismissed for exercising his or her civil rights.
For example, an employee who is dismissed after making a workers’ compensation claim or reporting illegal or dangerous activities of an employer is protected by law.
Furthermore, filing a complaint about illegal activities, such as sexual harassment, cannot be a motive for termination.
What Should You Do if Your Dismissal Was Unfair?
If you were dismissed in Chicago, Illinois, and you believe that your termination was unfair or illegal, the first thing you should do is speak with a lawyer.
Your wrongful termination lawyer can review your employment situation, and determine if you have legal cause to sue your employer.
If your termination was unfair, you may be able to seek various remedies, including:
- Restoration of your job
- Retroactive pay for lost work
- Punitive damages
- Other damages caused by the loss of your job
- Attorney fees
Illinois law and the federal government try to balance an employer’s rights to dismiss an employee and employees’ rights to be protected against discrimination.
If you believe you have been unjustly dismissed, it is important to keep a record of the illegal conduct and gather all the proof possible for your wrongful termination lawyer.