Illinois is an at-will state when it comes to employment, which means that an employee can be fired for no reason at all. However, even as an at-will state, an employee can not be fired for illegal reasons such as retaliation and discrimination. If an employer releases an employee for a reason that is in violation of state or federal worker rights, it is called wrongful termination. Reasons for firing an employee that would be considered illegal include discrimination that is based on religion, age, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or retaliation for performing a lawful and protected act.
How Can You Prepare an Illinois Wrongful Termination Claim?
If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated from your place of employment, you may be entitled to file a claim against your employer. An attorney that is experienced in wrongful termination can advise you on whether your situation would be considered a wrongful termination. To help your attorney help you, there are certain steps that you can take.
Gather and hang onto any paperwork that is relevant to your claim and that is legally in your possession such as memos sent by or to you, emails, complaints you filed to human resources or your supervisors, notices that show your job title or salary changed, performance reviews, and any other documents that would attest to your job habits and work performance. Obtain a copy of your company’s employee handbook as well as your personnel file.
Your wrongful termination attorney will review these documents and uncover any employer violations that took place that may help strengthen your wrongful termination claim.
Damages in a Wrongful Termination Claim
When you choose to take action against an employer for wrongful termination, the monetary compensation you receive is often referred to as damages. Although these claims do not typically result in huge sums of cash, the claim can help make the plaintiff whole again by obtaining certain monetary damages. Some of the monetary damages may include the following:
- Lost Wages: One of the most obvious damage you will recover in a wrongful termination claim is your lost wages. This type of damages covers the wages that you would have received if you had not been wrongfully terminated by your employer. You may also receive other compensation that your employer withheld. If you have been hired somewhere else, your damages will be reduced by the amount you have earned since you were terminated.
- Loss of Benefits: If you had benefits that came with being an employee, you likely lost those after being terminated. These benefits may include dental and medical insurance, 401k and other retirement plans, profit-sharing, and stock options. Determining the amount of these lost benefits is complex, which is why you need a wrongful termination attorney on your side to ensure that you are fairly compensated.
- Punitive Damages: The other types of damages reimburse you for the actual cost of things that you have lost, but punitive damages are awarded to punish your employer. If you are found to be wrongfully terminated by an employer who was offensive and flagrant in their behavior, you may be entitled to punitive damages.
Contact an Illinois Wrongful Termination Attorney
The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline has years of experience helping clients through the stressful and frustrating experience of wrongful termination. Let them help you, too. Contact them today to schedule a consultation today.