Wrongful Termination Illinois: Best Line of Action

Wrongful Termination Illinois

The phrase “wrongful termination Illinois” may be familiar to you in a variety of contexts. However, the law only considers some kinds of termination to be “wrongful.” There are Incorrect dismissal of Illinois’s limits period and Federal Claims for Wrongful Termination

Violations of whistleblower laws, antidiscrimination legislation, and contracts are examples of illegal causes. You are probably hired at will and might not have legal recourse for an unfair termination if it wasn’t the result of a legal or contractual infraction. Read on for more details about wrongful termination and at-will employment.

What Does Unjust Termination Mean?

The term “wrongful termination” is frequently used incorrectly and could be unclear. Whenever they are fired unfairly, people frequently think they have a case for wrongful termination. Legally speaking, though, a wrongful termination occurs when your employer fires you in violation of a particular law, public policy, or the terms of your employment contract. Since many of those statutes have their enforcement procedures, there is no need to file a separate wrongful termination lawsuit.

Wrongful termination—also known as wrongful discharge or unlawful termination—occurs when an employee is let go by their employer for reasons that are illegal or improper.

An employer can face wrongful termination if they fire an employee for a reason that contradicts a mandated public policy. Illinois common law recognizes retaliatory discharge as a form of tort responsibility for wrongful termination or discharge.

Since there is no federal legislation against wrongful termination, each state will define “wrongful termination” differently, and some may not even recognize the existence of a distinct legal claim for wrongful termination. Your employment is most likely “at-will employment” if your employer has not broken any laws, public policies, or employment contracts. Your termination is not a violation of the law, and you do not have the right to file a lawsuit.

In Illinois, What Constitutes Wrongful Termination?

Illinois is an “at-will” employment state, which means that both employers and employees may terminate employment contracts at any time without providing further notice or justification.  

When employers disregard any of the following caveats to Illinois’ “at-will” clause, it is wrongful termination:

  • Discrimination
  • Breach of an employment contract
  • Reprisal for specific protected activities
  • Termination for time off work that is protected.

Illinois’s Unlawful Terminations and Discrimination

Illinois law safeguards workers from termination based on various factors, allowing employers to remove employees for any reason, despite their freedom to do so. This law applies to Illinois employers with 15 or more employees for most forms of discrimination. Employers with 20 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating based on age. Also, employers with fewer than four employees are prohibited from discriminating based on citizenship status.

Employers in Illinois, regardless of size, must abide by the legislation that forbids discrimination based on handicap. Additionally, employers are not permitted to fire an employee in retaliation for the employee taking lawful action, such as submitting a wage claim, filing for workers’ compensation, or reporting harassment at work.

In Illinois, What Qualifies as a Wrongful Termination?

Illinois is an at-will employment state, allowing termination of employment contracts at any time by either party.

Since either partner may end employment at any moment, wrongful terminations typically occur when an employer disregards one of the following at-will exceptions:

  • Breach of an employment agreement
  • Prejudice based on a class that is protected
  • Reprisal for certain legal conduct (whistleblowing, for example)
  • Dismissing someone due to protected time off work 

Your Illinois employment attorney can assist you in comprehending whether your situation qualifies as wrongful termination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Act prohibits businesses from firing employees solely because they belong to one of the several protected classifications. These courses are:

  • Origin Country
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Pregnancy Disability

Additionally, employers are prohibited from terminating an employee in retaliation for taking a lawful action, such as filing a workers’ compensation claim, reporting harassment or discrimination at work, or contacting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding a pay claim.

In Illinois, Unlawful Termination of Employment Agreements

An employment contract, as opposed to at-will employment, is what some employers provide their staff members. This gives them more work security. Illinois employment law upholds inferred verbal and written agreements.

Both written and verbal contracts frequently specify that an employee cannot be let go for a predetermined time without good reason. Conversely, implied contracts may give the impression that an employee will work for the company for a considerable amount of time, even when they don’t expressly guarantee a set duration of employment.

An employee handbook is a tool that lists potential termination grounds and outlines progressive discipline methods. You might be entitled to file a wrongful termination lawsuit if your employer fires you without following the proper procedures or if you were dismissed outright but not for an offense that could have led to your termination right away.

What Should You Do in Illinois If You Were Fired Unfairly?

You must use all available administrative options before pursuing legal action for discrimination or retaliation. This implies that you have to register a grievance with the relevant government body.

The Illinois Department of Human Rights, which has offices in Chicago, Marion, and Springfield, is responsible for enforcing the state’s anti-discrimination statutes in Illinois. Submitting a claim to the EEOC is the initial stage in a wrongful termination lawsuit. The EEOC will file a lawsuit after reviewing the evidence in your case and will provide a list of competent attorneys upon request.

A separate filing procedure will apply to you if you work for the federal government.  You could then bring a case in the relevant circuit court if the EEOC decides against you.

Engaging with an attorney from the start of the process is highly recommended for a satisfactory settlement with the EEOC  In addition to helping you construct the EEOC complaint, your attorney will also monitor the progress of your case regularly and help you investigate other possibilities, such as civil litigation, if the EEOC is unable to provide you with a sufficient remedy.

Federal Claims for Wrongful Termination

If their company fires an employee in Illinois in violation of specific federal wrongful termination laws, the employee may be able to pursue a claim for wrongful termination. In contravention of the following federal laws, Illinois employees may be entitled to the following rights against unjust termination:

  • Whistleblower laws for truck drivers
  • railroad whistleblower legislation
  • Aviation whistleblower legislation
  • Whistleblower laws about food safety
  • Whistleblower laws in the maritime industry
  • A law protecting environmental whistleblowers
  • Nuclear whistleblower legislation
  • Law Protecting Pipeline Whistleblowers
  • Whistleblower laws and false claims
  • Claims of Wage and Hour Retaliation under the FLSA
  • Discrimination Against Military Service

Incorrect Dismissal Illinois’s Limits Period

The statute of limitations, which is the period during which a lawsuit may be filed, usually begins to run on the date of the incident giving rise to the case, such as an accident or death. The time limit is occasionally suspended. For instance, in a medical malpractice case, the clock may not begin to run until you find, or reasonably should have learned, that you have been injured.

People who are legally disabled, such as those in a coma or other circumstances beyond their control that affect their capacity to sue, as well as minors, typically have a longer time to file a case. It usually takes a specific number of years from the date of their 18th birthday or the end of their disability for minors and disabled people to launch a lawsuit. Stated differently, the clock does not begin to run until they have the legal right to file a lawsuit.

Fraudulent concealment is another example of an exception. You usually have five years from the day you learned you had a legal claim if the person you would have sued conceals the fact that you have grounds to sue them.

FAQs

What Constitutes a Wrongful Termination Under Illinois Law?

For there to be a wrongful termination, you must have been let go for an unlawful reason. Violations of whistleblower laws, antidiscrimination legislation, and contracts are a few examples of illegal causes.

In Illinois, What Is the Maximum Compensation for Wrongful Termination?

In Illinois, you have the potential to pursue a wrongful termination claim worth $5,000 to $100,000.

How Much Time Do I Have in Illinois to Pursue a Wrongful Termination Claim?

The length of time you have to make a wrongful termination claim if you were fired unfairly depends on the nature of your contract. You have ten years to file a claim if your employer and you had a written contract.

Can an Illinoisan File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Against Their Employer?

Can my employer fire me without warning, without justifying, or for an unreasonable reason? Indeed. Illinois is a “employment-at-will” state, which means that either party may end the job relationship at any moment and for any reason.

Summary

In terms of lawful termination, companies in Illinois are free to fire employees for any cause other than those that fall under the legal definition of discrimination. These factors include a hostile work environment, poor work output, disrespectful behavior, insubordination, excessive tardiness, and workplace conduct, among others.

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