Illinois Illegal Termination
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The most common complaint that we hear is that someone feels they were wrongfully terminated. Illinois is an "at-will" employment State that means that you can be fired for any reason except for an illegal reason or if you have an employment contract that has been violated.
If you believe you were wrongfully terminated from your job and are considering filing a lawsuit, here are some of the basics to understand first on the area of illegal termination in Illinois.
What is an illegal reason for firing someone in Illinois?
Your employer cannot fire you for a reason that is considered to violate public policy. Such reasons include:
- Your religion
- Your race
- Your sex
- Your age (40 or over)
- You are receiving workers' compensation benefits
- You filed a sexual harassment case
- You reported illegal activity by your employer to other superiors or outside authorities.
- You complained about unsafe work conditions.
- Sexual orientation.
- Because you got hurt on the job.
- Because you are pregnant.
So, I can’t be fired once I reach a certain age?
NO. You can be fired at any age but the reason for your termination cannot be that you were too old. Rather, your employer will have to show that you were fired for valid reasons (poor performance, etc) and not because of your age.
Can I sue if I was wrongfully demoted or threatened with termination?
If it was for illegal reasons then yes. But remember, you have to prove it.
What is the process like?
Every case is different but initially you must file a claim with the Illinois EEOC and the Department of Human Rights. Once those departments both give the go ahead, an investigation will take place and a lawsuit filed with the appropriate court. Then, the lawsuit will move forward in the normal course of any lawsuit, which is to say that it will vary from case to case.
What are some things my potential lawyer may want to know?
Before you meet with an attorney, write down the events and everything you can remember as they took place. Did you sign an employment contract? Do you have a copy? What was the reason given for your termination? Why do you think there is another reason? Do you have evidence indicating that there may be an underlying reason for your termination– emails, notes, voicemails, eyewitnesses?
If you have been fired from a job and have questions about whether or not it was illegal or would like a referral to an Illinois employment lawyer that has experience in illegal firing cases please contact us. All inquiries are free and confidential