Illinois is an at-will employment state meaning you can be fired for no reason. However, your employer can’t fire you for an illegal reason. This is different from being fired for an unspecified reason. Federal and state employment laws prohibit an employer from firing anyone because of specific reasons that are deemed illegal.
Illinois Wrongful Termination Laws
In Illinois, wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired for being part of a protected class. A protected class means a group of people who have something in common and which the legislature has deemed worthy of protection. The common aspect has traditionally caused discrimination in the workplace. Illinois wrongful termination laws protect certain individuals who are part of a protected class of people such as those fired based on their:
- National of origin
- Sexual orientation
- Retaliation for performing a protected, lawful act
- Nation of Origin
Proving Illinois Wrongful Termination
If you were fired from your job because of one of those listed protected classes above, you can file a wrongful termination claim in the state. To do this, you’ll need plenty of evidence and help of an Illinois wrongful termination lawyer. First, gather and keep relevant paperwork that you have in your possession. Never take paperwork from your employer that you shouldn’t have. This includes paperwork such as any HR complaints filed, performance reviews and documents attesting to your job performance and work habits. Also, obtain copies of your personnel file and a copy of your employer’s employee handbook.
Your Employer May Claim a Defense to Firing You
Your employer may try to use a defense to claim that you were fired justly. These defenses include insubordination, criminal activity, numerous absences, and company rule violations.
Get the Help of an Illinois Wrongful Termination Lawyer
In a successful wrongful termination claim, you can receive damages. These damages will be payable to you by your employer in money. For example, you may receive back pay, compensation for emotional stress, compensatory and punitive damages. You may even receive your job back.
Contact a lawyer at our HKM Chicago office for help with your potential wrongful termination claim. You’ll understand the process of suing your employer and the compensation you may be entitled to collect.