What Are Some Common Examples Of Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination refers to a situation where an employee’s dismissal from their job breaches one or more terms specified in the employment contract, or violates employment laws. In Illinois, as in other states, both state and federal laws provide protections against wrongful termination. Understanding these laws and the process for addressing wrongful termination claims is crucial for employees who believe they have been unjustly dismissed.

What Is Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination occurs when the employer terminates an employment agreement in a manner that infringes upon legal statutes. This can include dismissals in violation of anti-discrimination laws, retaliation for whistleblower activities, or breach of contractual obligations, among other things. Although Illinois is an “at-will” employment state, meaning an employer may terminate an employee at any time for any reason, there are a few exceptions to this rule that aim to protect employees from wrongful termination.

Relevant Federal And Illinois Laws

Several federal laws protect against wrongful termination:

  1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – This act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  2. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – The law protects employees with disabilities from discrimination and mandates reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
  3. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – The ADEA is designed to protect employees who are 40 years of age or older from discrimination.
  4. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects against wrongful termination related to unfair wage practices and overtime regulations.

In addition to federal laws, Illinois has its own set of statutes that further protect employees:

  1. The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
  2. The Illinois Whistleblower Act protects employees who report illegal activities or violations of state or federal laws by their employers.
  3. The Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requires certain businesses to give advance notice of large-scale layoffs or plant closures.

How To Begin The Wrongful Termination Claims Process In Illinois

The process of addressing a wrongful termination begins by understanding the grounds for the claim. If an employee believes their termination was illegal, the following steps outline how to initiate a claim:

Step 1: Document Everything – Documentation is crucial. This includes saving emails, recording relevant dates (such as those of hire and termination), and noting any instances of discriminatory comments or unfair treatment.

Step 2: File a Complaint with the Relevant Agency – Depending on the nature of the wrongful termination, the complaint may be filed with:

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for violations of federal discrimination laws.
  • The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) for breaches of state discrimination laws.

Step 3: Seeking Legal Counsel – Consulting with an attorney who handles employment law is highly recommended. An experienced lawyer can provide guidance tailored to the specific circumstances of the case, help gather additional evidence, and represent the employee in legal proceedings.

Step 4: Mediation and Litigation – Many wrongful termination cases are resolved through mediation, a process where both parties try to reach an agreement with the help of a mediator. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to litigation, where it will be heard in court.

Wrongful termination claims can be complex, requiring a thorough understanding of both federal and state laws. Employees in Illinois who find themselves unfairly dismissed have several avenues for recourse, but successfully navigating these requires careful documentation, a clear understanding of legal rights, and, often, professional legal assistance. By taking the appropriate steps and consulting with the right professionals, employees can assert their rights and seek justice for wrongful termination.

Contact Our Chicago Wrongful Termination Lawyers For Legal Justice

Were you, a loved one, or a friend wrongfully terminated in Chicago? North Suburban Legal Services stands ready to pursue legal justice and just compensation! Contact our Chicago wrongful termination lawyers at the North Suburban Legal Services at 312-909-6089 for your free initial consultation and to begin the process of rebuilding your life.




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