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Understanding what constitutes a wrongful discharge

Obtaining and maintaining employment is crucial for most Chicago residents. A job ensures financial security and personal wellbeing. Thus, losing a job can be significantly detrimental for individuals in Illinois and elsewhere. While some employees might be rightfully discharged based on his or her performance or conduct in the work environment, others might be wrongfully discharged form his or her position. Thus, it is important to understand your rights as an employee and what exactly constitutes a wrongful discharge.

When an employee is considered at-will, this means that they do not have a contract with their employer. This also means that an employer may fire you for any reason or no reason at all. Nonetheless, if a termination violates the anti-discrimination laws, contractual obligations or is done in retaliation, this is considered a wrongful termination.

With regards to anti-discrimination laws, an employer may not take adverse actions against based on his or her protected characteristics. This typically includes race, color, gender, national origin, age, pregnancy, religion or disability. Additionally, many states also prohibit the discrimination against an employee for their sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status or any other identifiers.

If a contract exists, then an employer is bound to the terms of the contract. Failure to do so by dismissing the employee could constitute a wrongful discharge. Retaliation could also be the cause of a wrongful termination. This could occur if an employee is a whistleblower or refuses to perform illegal acts in the workplace.

If you believe that you have been wrongfully discharged, it is important to gain more information about your matter. This could help you take action and make you successful when initiating employment litigation against an employer.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Was I Wrongfully Discharged From My Job?" accessed Nov. 27, 2017

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