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Wrongfully Terminated?

Our Hoffman Estates Attorneys Advise Employers and Workers About Employment Law

Many employees incorrectly assume that they have limited rights in the workplace, especially in states with “at-will” employment laws. Although many employment law policies may appear slanted in favor of employers, workers may have the ability to contest the fairness of their termination. If an employee is unfairly fired from a position, this individual may be entitled to file a wrongful termination and retaliation claims against his or her employer. It is important for both employees and companies to be able to identify what constitutes as wrongful termination and retaliation.

The Hoffman Estates attorneys at Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee, Ltd. are capable of representing both employers and employees in wrongful termination cases. Our lawyers have experience working with many different types of businesses as well as their workers, and can provide effective legal counsel to companies to ensure they avoid violating their employees’ rights.

What Rights Do Employees Have in At-Will Employment States?

Most states in the country, including Illinois, are at-will employment states. This means that an employer may terminate an employee for any reason at any time, but only if the reason does not violate an employee’s legal rights. Even in at-will employment states, employers may not fire workers based on discriminatory actions or in retaliation for certain protected activities.

However, a number of exceptions to this rule do give employees more rights and forces employers to be more cautious about terminations. Although each situation is unique, employees may have the right to file wrongful termination lawsuits if their employers violate any of the following exceptions:

  • Employment law protects employees from adverse employment actions that violate public policy. If an employer asks an employee to perform an act that is prohibited by law and the worker refuses, he or she may not be fired for this action. Employees may not be terminated for reporting their employers’ violation of the law or for exercising their statutory rights, such as filing for workers’ compensation.

  • Although difficult to prove, many states recognize implied contracts. These are not written contracts between employees and their employers, but rather statements by supervisors, representatives of the company or employers that suggest an employee has more rights than a typical at-will employee. However, courts often disregard this language, and these types of cases are typically complex to pursue.

  • A few courts find that breaches of good faith and fair dealing may aid a wrongful termination lawsuit. If an employer misleads an employee, fabricates a reason to fire an employee with the intentions of hiring another worker for less pay or otherwise acts in a way that the courts would agree is unfair, this may be grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Several more potential exceptions exist to conventional at-will employment laws. Additionally, written employment contracts often limit employers’ ability to terminate employees at will. These lawsuits are largely up to interpretation by the courts. So, if you are an employee considering a wrongful termination claim, or if you are an employer hoping to protect yourself from this type of legal action, you will benefit from consulting with knowledgeable employment lawyers about your rights.

Where Can I Find an Employment Lawyer in Illinois?

Our attorneys are experienced business counselors, trial attorneys and not-for-profit law advisors. No matter what your situation is, we can give you advice about business and employment law, and will work to resolve your legal conflicts. Call our lawyers today to find out how we can help.

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