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Wrongful Termination
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Illinois Wrongful Termination

Under Illinois law, your employer can probably lay you off or fire you with little to no advanced notice. But there are some limited instances where it is against the law to dismiss an employee. If you think you've been the victim of a wrongful dismissal, then an employment lawyer or wrongful termination attorney can help you take legal action against your former employer.

Can You Be Wrongfully Terminated in an "At Will" State?

Illinois is what's known as an at-will employment state, meaning employers can usually terminate employees at any time and for any reason. Similarly, workers are free to quit without any advanced notice. But in certain circumstances, employers can't legally fire a worker. So how do you know if you've been the victim of a wrongful termination? Let's take a closer look at the most common types of wrongful dismissals.

If you have a written employment contract and you're terminated in violation of that agreement, you may have a breach of contract claim against your former employer. A wrongful termination lawyer can help you file a lawsuit in civil court. Illinois law also recognizes the concept of implied contracts. These may include verbal promises your employer made to keep you employed, or promises made in documents such as employee handbooks.

It is illegal under federal and Illinois law for a company to terminate an employee for discriminatory reasons. That would include dismissing an employee because of his or her age (if at least 40 years old), race, religion, gender, skin color or national origin, or because of the employee's disability or pregnancy status.

If you think you've been terminated because of your personal characteristics, your lawyer can help you file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

It's also illegal for employers to terminate workers for what's known as the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "Examples of bad faith terminations include an employer firing an older employee to avoid paying retirement benefits or terminating a salesman just before a large commission on a completed sale is payable."

Finally, your employer can't fire you for doing something that's permitted by law, such as serving on jury duty or filing a workers' compensation claim. (This is known as the public policy exception to at-will employment.)

Your lawyer can also help you take legal action if you've been terminated in violation of the public policy exception or implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Find & Hire Local Illinois Wrongful Termination Attorneys

Do you think you've been wrongfully terminated from your job and need to find legal representation? Whether you live in Chicago, Rockford, Aurora or elsewhere in Illinois, can help. Call us at 877-913-7222 or fill out the form on this page to use our free lawyer referral service. We will quickly connect you with wrongful termination lawyers in your area.