Understanding the Basics of “At-Will” Employment

Web Admin - Monday, December 19, 2016

Illinois is an “at-will” employment state. This essentially means that either the employer or the employee may terminate their relationship at any time, without reason or cause. However, there are some important limitations to this law. Employers and employees should both know and understand them, as well as how a violation of one may impact their future. The following explains further.

At-Will Employment and Wrongful Termination of Employees

By law, employees are protected from discrimination based on their age, gender, sexual orientation, race, color, national origin, religion, marital status, or citizenship status. Further, an employer cannot discriminate against those with disabilities, nor may they terminate an employee for exercising their legal rights to take family medical leave. Employees are also protected when they must take time off work for jury duty, or to serve active military duty. Whistleblowers are supposed to receive immunity from employer retaliation as well. Violations of these limitations can result in serious legal troubles for employers, including litigation from a wrongfully terminated employee.

The risk of litigation to employers makes exceptional record-keeping a critical matter. This is especially true when it comes to the problematic employee – the one who consistently comes in late or calls out sick but might potentially claim harassment or discrimination within the workplace. Further, any contracts with the employee should be carefully reviewed to ensure no violations on the part of the employer may take place during the termination of employment. For assistance, contact an experienced Illinois employment law attorney.

At-Will Employment and the Employee’s Duty to Notify

Ideally, employers prefer if they are given notice prior to an employee’s leave of a company. The law does not obligate them to give this notice, however. Still, it should still be noted that employees may be bound by contract to their company. Failure to meet the terms could result in a loss of certain benefits you might have otherwise been entitled to, had you provided notice or been terminated by your employer. For questions about a contract of employment, contact an experienced Illinois employment law attorney.

Contact Our Deer Park Employment Law Attorneys

Whether you are an employer or an employee who has been wronged by an employer, the experienced Deer Park employment law attorneys at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help. Seasoned and dedicated, we offer personalized representation to suit your specific needs. Learn more about how we can assist with your case. Call 847-934-6000 today.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


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