Pushing Back Against A Wrongful Firing
You may have heard that Illinois is an “at will” employment state. But that doesn’t allow your employer to fire you for an unlawful reason.
At the Law Office of Van-Lear P. Eckert, PC, we can advise you on your legal options after being let go unfairly and help you take action accordingly.
Give us a call today to discuss your specific situation with a skilled attorney. We serve clients throughout the Belleville area and offer a free consultation.
What Happened — And What Can Be Done About It Now?
It’s true that most employees are considered at-will employees. In practice, this means you can be terminated at any time — as long as it was not for an unlawful reason.
There are several scenarios in which firing may be unlawful. For one thing, you may have had an employment contract that created some specific protections. Or you may have been subjected to improper discrimination based on race, age, sex, national origin or other impermissible factors.
Did Your Employer Retaliate Against You?
Wrongful termination can also occur when an employer retaliates against you for exercising your legal rights. For example, if you tried to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, your employer cannot hold that against you and fire you.
It is also unlawful for employers to retaliate against whistleblowers. If you reported a violation of law by your employer to either your supervisors at work or government authorities, it is not permissible for your employer to fire you for that reason. Reporting violations of law even internally can generally qualify someone as a whistleblower.
And if the violation you reported as a whistleblower involved fraud concerning government contracts, you have rights under the federal False Claims Act. This includes actions for back pay and other damages in legal actions that are sometimes called “qui tam” actions.
Even if you quit your job, you may still have a claim. When you are forced to leave, the law considers that to be “constructive” firing, which gives rise to certain rights.