Even though Illinois is an “at will” employment state, there are still circumstances where an employee may be able to sue an employer for breach of contract.
Contracts may be more than a specific written agreement signed by an employer and employee; other written documents, or even unwritten standards adhered to by an employer concerning the way the majority of employees are treated may be considered contracts by the court. For instance, if a company has an employee handbook that delineates procedures, dress codes, or behaviors that employees are required to follow, and employees are required to sign a statement agreeing to the policies in the handbook, the handbook becomes a legal contract between the employer and the employee.
If an employer allows certain employees to take longer lunch hours, extra time off with pay, etc., they may be at risk of breaching an unwritten contract between the other employees, and the company, if other employees believe they are suffering discrimination.
If an employer breaches their contract, there are 3 things the law may allow them to recover:
- Company benefits and loss of wages they were eligible to receive if they had not been unfairly terminated – if an employee finds employment after the termination, any wages or benefits earned in their new position will normally be deducted from what the former employer would have to pay
- Reinstatement in their former position
- Compensation for emotional/psychological harm resulting from their wrongful termination
Chicago Employment Lawyers
Goldman & Ehrlich employment lawyers have worked with Chicago clients to successfully litigate and recover monetary losses in wrongful termination lawsuits. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, you need to contact our employment lawyers today for a free consultation.
Executive and Employment Severance Agreement
Illinois laws do not mandate that employees are given severance agreements or packages by their employer. However, if a severance agreement or severance package is a standard set by your employer for the majority of employees they hire, and your received neither, then the failure to offer the same agreement or package to you, could mean they have discriminated against you. This may allow you to demand the same agreement or package according to the employment laws established in Illinois.
Handbooks containing company policies often become useful if an employee is terminated. It’s imperative for employees to review the listed policies to ensure they are being treated fairly according to the company’s written policy. The court will hold companies responsible for adherence to written policies.
Severance agreements and packages not only serve an employee well, but can also help ensure that employees do not resign without notice leaving a company with an unfilled opening in a critical position. Even if a company decides the employee is not performing to their standards, a severance agreement, and/or severance package may allow the company to move forward with finding the right employee for a specific position providing they are complying with the severance agreement.
Severance Agreements and OWBPA
Typically, most companies desire to protect their interests when drawing up severance agreements, and there are laws stating that depending upon the employee’s age, the company may be required to give an employee a set amount of time to read over the severance agreement and decide if they want to sign it. This is known as the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) and applies to all employees over 40 years of age.
Executive and employment severance agreements may have some ambiguous terminology not easily deciphered by individuals unfamiliar with the employment laws of Illinois. Our team of employment experts at Goldman & Ehrlich is available to ensure that you are not signing a document that is not in your best interest.
Severance Agreement Representation
Contact a severance attorney at Goldman and Ehrlich to have them review your employment agreements before you sign them.
Chicago Employee’s Religious Rights
According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, employers with 15 or more employees, may not discriminate against an employee because of their religious beliefs in reference to hiring or firing them. The federal government, labor organizations, and employment agencies are required to comply with Title VII as well.
Title VII also provides protection to an employee in the following areas:
- An employee must not be treated with more favor or less favor as a result of their religious practices or beliefs. An employee may be extended certain accommodations for their religious beliefs depending upon the circumstances, and if it does not interfere with the employer’s business practices.
- Conditions of employment cannot force an employee to participate in any religious activity or refuse them employment due to their religious activity.
- Employers must not allow religious harassment of an employee due to their religious beliefs. Having an anti-harassment policy in place will normally assist in avoiding this from taking place in the workplace.
- The Civil Rights Act, Title VII, also provides protection from retaliation against an employee reporting discriminatory practices that are investigated in the workplace.
- Employees also have a right to religious expression providing it is not disruptive in the workplace.
Religious Discrimination Attorney
If you believe you are being or have been discriminated against as a result of your religious beliefs, contact a religious discrimination attorney at Goldman & Ehrlich to discuss your legal options. Our attorneys have successfully represented clients to ensure the protection of their religious beliefs under the law.