What Is At-Will Employment and How Does It Apply to Wrongful Termination?

What Is At-Will Employment and How Does It Apply to Wrongful Termination?

When your employer subjects you to wrongful termination, consult with a Chicago lawyer to determine whether grounds exist to pursue a lawsuit. Most law firms offer a free consultation to evaluate whether you have a case.

Explanation of at-will employment

Illinois is an at-will employment state. In fact, most states operate under at-will employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) explains that at-will employment generally means employers can fire employees who do not have written contracts “for good cause, bad cause or no cause at all.” At-will employment does not seem to bode well for employees.

Exceptions to at-will employment

Aside from termination based on outright violations of anti-discrimination laws, courts may decide termination was wrongful based on three other exceptions:

  • Violations of a state’s public policy
  • Termination after implied contract for employment
  • Implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing

Not all states recognize these three exceptions. Illinois does not recognize implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Violations of public policy include termination based on a worker filing a workers’ compensation claim or for reporting criminal activities in the work place. An Illinois court decided that public policy relates to social rights and responsibilities defined under the Illinois Constitution and gave courts considerable latitude in creating public policy decisions. Termination after an implied employment contract refers to oral or written communications promising employees job security or protection when adverse employment conditions arise.

The only reasonable way to know whether grounds exist to pursue a case based on wrongful termination is to seek legal advice from an experienced Chicago attorney. Get legal help from a lawyer who has an in-depth knowledge of case laws that apply to wrongful termination and can evaluate the prospects of winning a case.

Based on years of focus on employment law, the Law Offices of Mitchell A. Kline offers clients extensive legal experience.