Federal and State Laws Protect Illinois Workers From Termination in Certain Circumstances
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) August 22, 2014 - Most states hire workers “at-will.” Even though employees may usually be laid off at any time without notice, state and federal laws protect workers in some circumstances.
“It is good common sense to understand whether or not you are employed at-will in your state. It affects how any labor disputes may be handled. Illinois is an employment-at-will state,” explained Timothy Coffey, a respected Chicago employment lawyer.
State and federal laws protect workers in some circumstances. For instance, if a worker in Illinois has an employment contract, they do not have at-will employment. An employment contract, in most cases, guarantees a worker's job for a minimum period of time. In other states, a contract does not need to be in writing. It is implied. “If you have a contract and are terminated earlier than the terms specify, you may sue the employer to enforce your contract -- particularly if you did not get compensation for contract violation,” added Coffey.
Under federal law, it is illegal and unconstitutional to fire someone for discriminatory reasons. Those reasons might include, but are not limited to, age over 40, pregnancy, skin color, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation. It is also against the law to fire any worker as an act of retaliation, which alleges discrimination in the workplace. Laws also protect whistleblowers who provide incriminating evidence about their employer.
Employers may release individuals who are employed at-will from their jobs for any legal reason, but workers may then be unable to collect their personal belongings. In these simpler cases, the employer is legally bound to send them to the worker or to schedule a time and location for pickup.
“Despite the protections workers have in Illinois, there are still going to be situations where an employer chooses to fire someone illegally. Should that happen, take legal action as soon as possible. You may be compensated in several forms, including lost wages, job reinstatement, coverage for sustaining physical or emotional injuries, punitive damages for an employer’s illegal actions and compensation for legal and medical expenses,” outlined Coffey.
THE COFFEY LAW OFFICE, P.C.
351 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60654
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