Wrongful Termination in Illinois
In Illinois, employment agreements which do not run for a set time can be terminated at will, by either party. This means that employees can be fired for any reason, or no reason at all. Like most other states with at-will employment schemes, there are some exceptions, such as when the firing was discriminatory or violated public policy.
Compared to other states, Illinois’ definition of “public policy” is not clear. To have a valid claim for wrongful termination in Illinois, an employee must show that the firing violated a clearly mandated public policy. This is considered on a case-by-case basis, but generally, if the termination of the employee affects the state as a whole, public policy is said to be involved.
The Illinois law against wrongful termination, unlike in some other states, also requires that there be an actual firing. It does not apply to other types of discipline imposed by the employer, including demotion or threat of termination.
Employees in Illinois are protected against termination for reporting illegal activities by their employer, and for reporting unsafe working conditions. This applies to reporting the illegal conduct either to superiors in the company, or outside authorities.
Employees are also protected against firing for bringing a good faith claim for workers’ compensation. A qualified Illinois lawyer can provided you more information if there is a legal basis for a claim.
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Last Modified: 09-06-2012 08:41 AM PDT