Like most other jurisdictions, Illinois is an at-will employment state. Most bosses may terminate employees at any time with good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all. This employer-friendly rule limits, but does not eliminate, the legal and financial rights of employees. Wrongful termination, while narrowly defined, is illegal in Illinois. These prohibitions also apply to various forms of employee discipline, such as file write-ups and demotions.
At the Law Office of Mitchell Kline, our compassionate wrongful termination attorneys near you understand the severe economic and emotional distress that unexpected wrongful termination causes. As such, we serve as a strong voice for employment law victims, both in court and during pretrial settlement negotiations. Since we appreciate the nature and breadth of these problems, we are often able to obtain results that exceed our clients’ expectations.
Even in the 21st century, many employers flaunt national and state anti-discrimination laws. Some employers, especially family-owned companies, have used the same practices for so long that they do not realize they are discriminatory. This excuse is completely invalid. Normally, discrimination is not a question of intent, but a question of result. Common types of illegal discrimination include:
Recently, the Supreme Court significantly expanded “sexual orientation” to include almost all individuals who are anywhere on the LGBTQ spectrum. These individuals now have the same right to equal treatment as anyone else.
Wrongful termination claims include more than wrongful termination. The Civil Rights Act also prohibits employers from treating people differently because they are different. Common issues include demotion, reassignment, loss of business opportunity, and loss of informal authority.
It is also illegal to terminate employees because they engage in a protected activity. Labor organization, including sympathizing with a union or discussing working conditions with a co-worker, is the classic example of a protected activity. Typically, workers can even use a company email account to engage in a protected activity.
Frequently, in order to skirt the law, employers indirectly terminate employees for unlawful reasons. This behavior is called constructive termination. Essentially, employers make life so difficult for certain employees that they voluntarily leave.
Disparate impact discrimination is another form of indirect wrongful determination. Many employers have policies which disproportionately affect protected classes.
A mandatory weekend policy is a good example. Saturdays or Sundays are holy days for many people. Employers must freely allow their employees to practice their religions. Indirect accommodations, like allowing them to exchange shifts with other workers, is insufficient.
Incidentally, religious beliefs are protected even if they are not orthodox or widely held. These beliefs must only be individually sincere.
Damages in a wrongful termination claim typically include compensation for economic losses, such as lost back wages and, if reinstatement is inappropriate, a reasonable amount of lost future wages. Non-economic losses, for things such as pain and suffering, might be available, as well.
A web of laws protects Illinois workers from wrongful termination. For a free consultation with an experienced wrongful termination lawyer near you, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline.