Many employees are fired from their companies for reasons that seem unjust. The employer may claim someone is not a “good fit” or give some other vague reason for the termination.
In an at-will employment state like Illinois, employers are allowed to fire or layoff employees for any lawful reason.
Therefore, while you may have been terminated for unfair reasons, or no reason at all, that does not mean that your employer did something illegal.
For a termination to be considered unlawful under Illinois law, the termination must have been:
- Based on discriminatory reasons (e.g., employee was terminated because of their gender, race, or other protected characteristic).
- Based on retaliatory reasons (e.g., employee was terminated for filing EEOC).
- A violation of an employment contract.
- Based on taking protected time off work (e.g., eligible employee was terminated for taking FMLA leave).
An employer is unlikely to admit that a termination occurred for illegal reasons. Instead, your supervisor is likely to cite to “legitimate, non-discriminatory” reasons for your termination.
They may claim that you were always late to work, failed to meet performance requirements, or engaged in insubordinate behavior.
It is your job to present evidence, including job performance reviews, witness testimony, and correspondence between you and your supervisors to dispute these “legitimate” reasons.
For example, five years of above average performance reviews could dispute your employer’s claim that you were fired for poor performance.
An employment litigation attorney can review your employment records and other evidence to determine whether you have a valid claim for wrongful termination.