There are certain things your employer cannot fire you for. These include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Becoming pregnant;
- Filing a discrimination claim;
- Acting as a whistleblower;
- Providing testimony to support a colleague’s discrimination or harassment claim; and
- Being part of a specific religious or ethnic group.
Terminating you for one of these reasons is a wrongful termination. It is illegal and can have severe repercussions for your employer. Knowing this, employers often disguise wrongful terminations as legitimate terminations. Take note of the circumstances of your termination to determine if it was a rightful firing or not – if you do file a wrongful termination claim, you will need to provide your documentation of these circumstances to support your claim.
Note the Circumstances Surrounding your Termination
When were you fired? If it was just before taking family leave as guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 or before returning from your leave, it could be a wrongful termination. Similarly, your termination after “coming out” as homosexual or transgender, filing a discrimination claim, or joining a labor union could be an act of discrimination.
Can Your Employer Support Its Claims?
Does your employer’s reason for your termination make sense? You might know you were a strong worker and have records to demonstrate this, but your employer might have given you poor performance reviews anyway. Illogically poor performance reviews and other nonsensical employer complaints are often an effort to build justification for a wrongful termination.
Make an effort to improve on the areas where your employer says you need to improve, and schedule follow up reviews to determine if you corrected the problems. Keep documentation of all your interactions with your employer and the steps you take to improve your workplace performance.
Was the Proper Procedure Followed Before your Termination?
Generally, termination for poor performance or behavior can only come after the employee has been warned, reprimanded, and given the opportunity to correct the problem. Every company has a unique policy for this, and whether your termination followed your company’s policy is an important part of determining if your termination was wrongful or not.
If you file a wrongful termination claim, have documentation of your company’s termination policy. This is likely in your employee handbook. Keep evidence that shows whether you were terminated according to this policy or if the company deviated in its effort to remove you from your position.
Work with an Experienced Chicago Employment Lawyer
Do not confuse your at-will employment with your employer’s right to terminate your employment for an illegal reason. If you feel you were wrongfully terminated, contact an experienced employment lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case in greater detail and determine the most effective way to move forward. Our team at The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline is here for you. Contact our firm today to set up your initial consultation with us.