Illinois is an at-will employment state. Essentially, this means that employees can be terminated, or leave their position, at any time. Nonetheless, there are some exceptions to this.
If an employer terminates the contract of their worker for unlawful reasons, this is typically referred to as a wrongful termination. Here are some of the more common examples.
Fired for discriminatory reasons
It is unlawful for you to face discrimination in the workplace, and this includes discriminatory termination. For example, if you were fired because of your religion, race, disability or gender. Illinois has a set list of protected characteristics and if your employer got rid of you based on one of these, this is actionable in the courts.
There are also instances where an employee may be terminated due to retaliation. For example, if you were hurt on the job, then you may be entitled to compensation. Your employer is not allowed to get rid of you because you have made a valid claim. This is also the case if you provide testimony on behalf of a colleague in relation to their valid workers’ compensation claim.
Additionally, if you request that any of your legal rights, such as the right to a minimum wage, be honored, you cannot be terminated on this basis.
Your options when wrongfully terminated
Losing your job can cause a lot of emotional distress as well as financial uncertainty. It’s important to remember that you have a host of legal rights as a worker in Illinois. If you feel that your termination was unlawful, be sure to seek some legal guidance.