What is Wrongful Termination?

Web Admin - Friday, April 08, 2016

wrongful termination, Illinois Employment Law AttorneysLoosing a job can be devastating to both you and your family. However, because Illinois is an at-will employment state, employers are generally allowed to terminate employees for whatever reasons they so choose. Still, this is not to say that all bases for termination are legal. 

When you are concerned that your employment termination was a wrongful termination, or you believe that your termination was in some way illegal, then you should discuss your case with an experienced employment law attorney to learn more about your rights.

Wrongful Termination 

There are legal protections in place to protect workers from wrongful termination. “Wrongful termination” does not necessarily mean that you feel your termination is unfair or unjustified. Rather, “wrongful termination” implies that the termination violates the law in some way. An employer may not terminate an employee for the following reasons:

- If the termination would violate an employment contract;

- If the termination was made on a discriminatory basis;

- If the termination is retaliatory for the employee exercising his or her rights. For instance, the following are impermissible grounds upon which to terminate an employee: 

- Filing a worker’s compensation claim;

- Filing a workplace safety complaint; 

- Filing a sexual harassment action; and

- Reporting wrongdoing in the company, i.e., whistle-blowing. 

- For taking legally protected time off from work for things such as jury duty, military leave, or time needed to care for oneself or his or her family members under the Family Medical Leave Act. 

Each of the above identified grounds for a termination would be a “wrongful termination” since each one violates the law in some way. 

Employment Contracts

Employees who have an employment contract are not considered to be “at will” employees. Rather, employment contracts impose a legal obligation between the employer and the employee—the employee will remain employed until the termination of the contract. Early termination of the employee would be an early termination of the contract, which is a violation of the terms of the contract. 

Discriminatory Termination 

Termination of an employee on the basis of discrimination is a violation of state and federal employment discrimination laws. There are certain legally protected statuses upon which an employee cannot be discriminated. These include the employee’s age, sex, race, religion, disability, national origin, pregnancy, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, unfavorable military discharge, arrest record, and lack of a permanent mailing address.

Retaliatory Termination

Employees have certain protected rights in Illinois under the Illinois Whistleblower Act and Illinois case law. Under these laws workers are allowed to exercise their rights without having to fear being terminated from their job. Employees can report instances of illegal conduct to the appropriate government authorities, and can also refuse to participate in company activities that the worker believes to be illegal. 

Employment law issues, such as wrongful termination, can be confusing. However, a skilled attorney can help. Please contact one of our experienced Illinois employment law attorneys today. Our Illinois law firm serves the communities of Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Barrington, Palatine, Crystal Lake, Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park. Please call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member of our team.

    Ken Apicella

    About 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.





New Law Mandates Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Women

Web Admin - Thursday, December 11, 2014

pregnant woman wrongful termination, employee rights lawyerDiscrimination against pregnant women in the workforce has long been a concern, and now the Illinois legislature has passed a new law designed to help give women greater protection. The new law modifies the Illinois Human Rights Act, effective starting next year, to more clearly protect pregnant women's rights. The new rights include the right to reasonable accommodation of their pregnancy by their employers, protection from employment discrimination, and protection from forced leave. The law also grants employers some protection from unreasonable demands, such as the ability to refuse accommodations if such accommodations would place an undue hardship on the business.

New Rights for Pregnant Women

The law includes four new rights for “women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common conditions related to childbirth.” The most legally complex of these rights is the right to a reasonable accommodation of their pregnancy. These accommodations are changes to the employee’s duties or their workspace that allow the employee to perform the “essential duties” of the position. The law provides some examples of these reasonable accommodations, which may include things like more frequent bathroom breaks, private space for breastfeeding, or a modified work schedule.

The law also provides another set of more concrete rights to pregnant women. For instance, employers may not force accommodations onto a pregnant woman if she does not want them, a provision that is likely designed to protect women from being forced to modify or reduce their work schedules. Similarly, the law forbids an employer from forcing a pregnant woman to take maternity leave if she chooses not to.

Employer's Rights

The law also includes a new set of rights for employers that relate to the issue of reasonable accommodation. The first right is that employers can claim that the accommodation the woman is asking for would place an undue hardship on the company. The law defines undue hardship as “an action that is prohibitively expensive or disruptive.” It also provides four factors for judges to consider when determining whether something is an undue hardship:

  1. 1. The nature and cost of the accommodations;
  2. 2. The financial resources of the facility providing the accommodation and the accommodation's impact on the company's operations;
  3. 3. The resources and size of the employer; and
  4. 4. The type of work the employer does.

This provides a highly individualized test that depends greatly on both the specific employer and the accommodation requested. The law also provides the employer with the right to request medical documentation supporting the need for the accommodation.

If you believe that your rights under this new act are being violated or if you are an employer concerned about your obligations under the new law, contact a Crystal Lake employment law attorney today. Our firm helps many northwest suburban employees and businesses in towns like Rolling Meadows, Crystal Lake, Arlington Heights, Inverness, Deer Park, Palatine, and Barrington.

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.

Retaliatory Discharge in Illinois: The Basics

Web Admin - Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Under the “at will” employment doctrine, employers are typically able to fire an employee for virtually any reason. There are some exceptions, however, including statutory rules which prevent employment discrimination against certain protected classes. Another exception is known as a “retaliatory discharge.”

What It Is

Essentially, the law, as outlined by the Illinois Supreme Court, allows an employee to recover damages if they show that they were fired from a job for engaging in legally protected conduct and that their termination violated public policy interests. A 1978 Supreme Court case, Kelsay v. Motorola, Inc. was the first in the state to define this tort.

Historically, there are two general types of situations where employees have won retaliatory discharge cases. The first is where an employee was fired for making a worker’s compensation claim.  To prevail in these situations, the burden is on the employee to affirmatively show that the termination was spurred by their seeking worker’s compensation.

In addition, employers can be liable for a retaliatory discharge when they fire an employee for reporting on improper conduct or refusing to participate in that conduct. For example, in one Illinois case, Palmateer v. International Harvester, an employee was fired after going to the police to share information about a fellow employee’s illegal actions. In another case decided by an Illinois appellate court, an employee won a claim after being fired for refusing to falsify pension plans--which itself violated federal law.

Retaliatory Discharge Damages

To pursue one of these cases, an employee must file a civil lawsuit specifically alleging that they were terminated in violation of these rules. But what sort of damages can the employee recover if they win?

Under Illinois case law, employees who win a retaliatory discharge case are generally able to recover lost wages from the date that the termination occurred until they find a new job. However, that does not mean that the employee can simply do nothing and collect a paycheck. Instead, courts have ruled that the employee has a duty to mitigate their damages by taking reasonable steps to find permanent work.

In addition, depending on the specifics of the case, a plaintiff may also seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the conduct of the employer (instead of merely compensating the harmed party). These damages are only a possibility when the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious. 

Legal Help

If you have questions about a potential retaliatory discharge case, contact a Palatine employment lawyer today. Call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member of our team. We serve many Northwest Suburban areas including Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, and other nearby communities.

Recent Posts


jet ski accidents Crystal Lake injury attorney Barrington injury attorney Long Grove estate planning Schaumburg civil litigation attorney Des Plaines collections attorney Palatine probate lawyer gift tax exemption, estate planning, estate planning strategies, Illinois estate planning, South Barrington estate planning attorneys Schaumburg employment law attorneys foreclosure real estate lawyer speeding income distribution deducation Illinois Probate Act of 1975 controlled substance IRA benefits Deer Park accident attorney Crystal Lake bike accident lawyer bike accident trucking accident lawyers Arlington Heights estate planning attorney healthcare claims digital assets, digital fiduciary, estate planning, digital content, Long Grove estate planning lawyers marijuana crimes attorney workers compensation insurance claims Palatine elder law attorney Illinois insurance disputes federal regulations for LLCs Barrington medical malpractice lawyers Illinois personal injury Arlington Heights traffic attorney FMLA no contest clauses Inverness corporate attorney life insurance policy Des Plaines real estate lawyer meal breaks hit and run accident Family Medical Leave Act pedestrian-automobile accident Illinois workplace discrimination attorney GM ignition switches Illinois insurance claim attorney pregnant women Buffalo Grove personal injury lawyer South Barrington real estate attorney Buffalo Grove car accident lawyer unauthorized overtime medical malpractice compensation Illinois trucking safety bicycle accidents liens Schaumburg estate planning lawyer Illinois insurance dispute lawyers workers compensation benefits llinois Real Estate Lawyers Association Rolling Meadows insurance attorney Illinois traffic attorney estate planning medical marijuana real estate attorneys Illinois insurance claims lawyers personal injury, auto accident injuries, delayed injuries, serious injuries, Des Plaines personal injury attorneys Crystal Lake medical malpractice attorneys Illinois workers compensation attorney Buffalo Grove traffic lawyers Des Plaines accident attorney Illinois motorcycle accident lawyer rumble strips workplace sexual harassment Illinois traffic ticket lawyer condo association Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorney Crystal Lake personal injury lawyer Schaumburg car accident attorney Illinois employment law consent to a search Illinois tax attorney Illinois boating accident lawyer homestead rights Deer Park traffic lawyer Kenilworth estate planning attorneys Illinois personal injury attorney insurance negligence Barrington Illinois estate planning lawyer Illinois speeding lawyer license reinstatement Schaumburg personal injury lawyer small business traffic deaths Illinois estate planning law firm cell phone Rolling Meadows drug defense attorney Des Plaines insurance attorney civil litigation drug crimes trusts Barrington employment law firm sexual harassment Rolling Meadows accident lawyer Palatine criminal defense lawyer creditors Palatine traffic lawyer Chicago lawyer car accident lawyers Palatine civil attorney Illinois DUI penalities Illinois employment law attorneys Palatine civil litigation lawyer life insurance claims drunk driving statistics products liability Illinois wills and trusts attorneys landlord holiday statistics employee discrimination Illinois will lawyer appealing an insurance claim Des Plaines personal injury attorney boating under the influence Illinois pet lawyer Illinois real estate Crystal Lake car accident lawyer probate process Crystal Lake employment law attorney uninsured motorist Crystal Lake car accident attorney digital media accounts, estate planning, Arlington Heights estate planning attorney, Des Plaines personal injury lawyers commercial leasing Illinois employment laws driving Illinois business law atorneys employee misclassification home inspection lawyer sexual images gift taxes Rolling Meadows Traffic Lawyer Arlington Heights tax lawyer Des Plaines drug lawyer BAC revenge porn Palatine employment lawyer motorcycle accident lawyer Chicago insurance law firm trench injuries Rolling Meadows business lawyer brain injury attorney fees workers comp Palatine punch death distracted driving accident victims pedestrian accident Des Plaines injury law firm product liability eluding a police officer Illinois medical malpractice claim personal injury claim PTSD Schaumburg probate attorney reckless homicide Illinois small business Schaumburg traffic lawyer Barrington personal injury lawyer civil rights violation life insurance Crystal Lake will lawyer probate claims process Arlington Heights insurance attorney underfunded trust Inverness DUI lawyer head on collisions rollover car crashes business litigation IRELA insurance dispute attorney Crystal Lake personal injury attorney Palatine employment law lawyer Illinois wills and trusts insurance claim dispute attorney estate planning, digital assets, Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Illinois digital assets, Illinois estate planning, in terrorem provision Inverness elder law lawyer estate plan Chicago car accident lawyer trust payments Fair Labor Standards Act employees Buffalo Grove injury lawyer Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyers probate Arlington Heights accident attorney Deer Park employment law attorney pizza emoji Rolling Meadows employment law attorney personal injury Illinois employment attorneys IRA trust transfer paid sick leave Palatine estate planning lawyer tax attorney senior citizens clemency defective products estate planning, death tax, succession plans, business estate plans, Barrington estate planning lawyers Landlord Tenant Ordinance Palatine workers compensation lawyer living wills Buffalo Grove criminal defense lawyer Schaumburg Attorney Illinois corporate lawyer employee rights insurance claim delay Rolling Meadows criminal lawyer Crystal lake insurance dispute attorney manufacturing spinal cord injury underage DUI Inverness real estate attorney Joliet general practice lawyers Palatine construction attorney defective products lawyer Buffalo Grove law firm Illinois medical malpractice lawyers Barrington workers compensation attorney wills civil litigation attorney back injuries DGAA personal injury attorney Des Plaines criminal attorney denial of life insurance Arlington Heights personal injury lawyer taxes Palatine traffic accidents Illinois insurance attorney Thanksgiving Illinois personal injury lawyer insurance claim denial construction accidents Kenilworth estate planning lawyer Crystal Lake medical malpractice lawyer Illinois car accident attorney Rolling Meadows boating crash lawyer installment contracts pedestrian injuries, pedestrian fatality rollover accidents Buffalo Grove real estate attorney Long Grove estate planning attorney Illinois attorney Chicago estate planning Riverwoods estate planning lawyer criminal defense Barrington boating accident attorney denied insurance claim work unions Long Grove estate planning attorneys social media after death Illinois living will Illinois home inspection Schaumburg medical malpractice lawyer mass shooting Inverness probate lawyer Illinois collections attorney rest breaks Buffalo Grove personal injury attorney Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyer Illinois wrongful termination lawyer first degree murder Des Plaines filing a medical malpractice claim Illinois elder law attorney digital information icy parking lots Illinois Transfer on Death Instrument ObamaCare Deer Park real estate law firm Illinois mortgages irrevocable trust Des Plaines civil attorney Super Mario IRS blood alcohol content Illinois trusts attorney Do Not Resuscitate Des Plaines motorcycle accident attorney Chicago will attorney, social media platforms, Illinois estate planning lawyer, drugs Palatine corporate law attorneys Deer Park medical malpractice attorney cell phone accidents traffic offenses Crystal Lake employment attorney power of attorney Schaumburg injury lawyer construction accidents, personal injury, wrongful death, Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys, workers' compensation Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyers Crystal Lake estate planning lawyer Mount Prospect wills and trusts lawyers Palatine injury attorney Buffalo Grove probate lawyer Barrington employment law attorney trauma after an accident probate lawyer wrongful termination modern family estate planning POA Retaliatory Discharge commercial leases Buffalo Grove corporate attorney Arlington Heights pedestrian accidents Arlington Heights lawyer Deer Park workers compensation lawyer fiduciary rule Fourth of July vacation home fines criminal breathalyzer test privacy laws Illinois injury lawyer Deer Park criminal attorney insurance attorney personal injury law firm Employment Discrimination Law Crystal Lake insurance lawyer Liquor Control Act crossover accidents license revocation overtime violations personal injury accidents wrongful termination, employment law, whistleblower protections, Illinois employment laws, discrimination in the workplace Illinois real estate lawyer vacation home real estate contract Illinois DUI attorney insurance denials medical research Schaumburg estate planning attorney Schaumburg corporate attorney fault based insurance Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyer Arlington Heights Traffic Lawyer Inverness estate planning lawyer Deer Park DUI lawyer Rolling Meadows estate planning attorney Arlington Heights employment attorney Policy Cancellation dealing with problem employees DUI defense insurance disputes, Illinois insurance disputes, Illinois insurance dispute attorneys, denied insurance claims, Arlington Heights insurance dispute attorneys natural gas explosion Illinois traffic laws Des Plaines pet law attorney texting while driving drug crime Illinois civil litigation lawyer insurance adjusters Palatine real estate lawyer Illinois lawyer involuntary manslaughter marijuana Deer Park traffic accident attorney murder Transfer on Death Instrument Schaumburg construction accident lawyer Des Plaines claims law firm landlord tenant law trucking accidents low-ball insurance settlement traffic crimes car collision traffic laws Barrington estate planning lawyer Palatine employment attorney insurance claim denials Illinois medical malpractice attorney federal crimes natural gas Illinois law trustee unpaid assessment Inverness accident lawyer probate fees South Barrington real estate lawyer accidental death benefits slip and fall accidents caretaker rights estate planning attorney Arlington Heights trucking lawyer loss of consortium Inverness civil lawyer Barrington personal injury attorney Colin H. Gilbert insurance dispute medical malpractice Mt Prospect Attorney Des Plaines tax law firm swimming pools traffic violations Schaumburg elder law lawyer boating accidents Rolling Meadows real estate attorney guardianship attorney Rolling Meadows probate lawyer Illinois insurance claim dispute lawyer child safety Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Des Plaines real estate attorney estate planning lawyer Kenilworth estate planning attorney boating DUI CAM Crystal Lake medical malpractice law firm dram shop law advance healthcare directive Rolling Meadows insurance lawyer insurance agent negligence forming a corporation in Illinois murder charges insurance agents Palatine Attorney Illinois insurance claim dispute lawyers employment attorney employment contract, employment law, employment at-will, Deer Park employment law attorneys, contract, traffic tickets Buffalo Grove medical malpractice lawyers Barrington attorney drug crimes lawyer Rolling Meadows medical malpractice lawyers Illinois driving without license traffic violations defense Chicago estate planning lawyer employment contract Schaumburg wrongful death attorney Barrington employment attorney financial advisors preventing accidents Buffalo Grove insurance claim dispute lawyers changes to mortgage law pet bites Crystal Lake traffic attorney motorcycle accident loopholes privacy truck collisions Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer estate attorney Crystal Lake pet attorney bad faith insurance claims real estate attorney college kids Barrington criminal lawyer medical malpractice, missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medical mistake, Deer Creek medical malpractice lawyers Illinois defective products attorney investment property Arlington Heights Attorney Illinois business lawyer Deer Park personal injury lawyer license suspension disability benefits suspended license car accident Forcible Entry insurance dispute, insurance dispute lawyers, insurance claim denial, insurance claim delays, Rolling Meadows insurance dispute attorneys distracted driving accidents Rolling Meadows traffic attorney Barrington litigation attorney real estate leasing Palatine insurance lawyer Chicago corporate attorney Mount Prospect elder law attorney Schaumburg estate attorney agent estate tax insurance disputes Crystal Lake employment lawyer Rolling Meadows corporate lawyer LLCs Arlington Heights car crash attorneys Rolling Meadows employment law attorneys Illinois medical malpractice case Deer Park motorcycle accident lawyer special needs trust TBI jet ski golf accidents DNR unfunded trust Crystal Lake accident attorney Rolling Meadows employment attorney Illinois job attorney real estate closing Palatine law firm Schaumburg Arlington Heights real estate lawyer personal injury lawyer DUI attorney Home Remodeling Repair Act Palatine drug lawyer Des Plaines medical malpractice attorney Illinois employment law attorney Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act Chicago employment lawyer Rolling Meadows traffic law firm insurance denial appeals cell phone tower data criminal record Arlington Heights criminal lawyer Schaumburg personal injury lawyers FSLA new real estate form liability claims Long Grove real estate lawyer spinal cord injuries personal injury claims Chicago biking tips Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act Illinois traffic accident lawyer Schaumburg real estate lawyer Palatine personal injury lawyer Barrington criminal defense lawyer Illinois employment lawyer Arlington Heights car accident lawyer liability insurance claim dispute DUI Illinois registered agent Rolling Meadows marijuana attorney power of attorney for healthcare institutional trustee preventable medical errors Schaumburg criminal law attorney Crystal Lake criminal defense attorney Chicago insurance claim attorneys field sobriety test owner responsibility Chicago attorney Attorney Ken Apicella digital assets license Illinois criminal defense attorney operating agreements Barrington estate planning attorney car accidents ken apicella car crash injuries Inverness personal injury attorney Barrington real estate lawyer elder abuse minimum wage Rolling Meadows tax attorney severance agreements anesthesia errors texting and driving expungement Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Colin Gilbert Illinois personal injury lawyers Illinois Human Rights Act Arlington Heights TBI attorney hiring employees Illinois probate lawyer condo whistleblower protections pedestrian accidents bicycle dooring accidents living trust vs will pain and suffering insurance claim Rolling Meadows criminal attorney dog bites job lawyers Crystal Lake tax lawyer Chicago will attorney Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act breach of contract Illinois pedestrian accident attorney drug possession residential real estate health insurance dispute Illinois LLC creation Rolling Meadows litigation lawyer Schaumburg employment attorney Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorneys compensatory time Schaumburg criminal attorney caregiver Illinois insurance lawyer deadly crashes elder law Home Sale Contingencies hands free device Buffalo Grove employment lawyer Palatine trusts lawyer comp time mortgage Illinois traffic attorneys ACA employment law, meal breaks, rest breaks, hotel employees, Des Plaines employment law attorneys wills and trusts Palatine corporate attorney sole proprietorship pet law BAIID living trust unpaid overtime Jay Andrew Buffalo Grove traffic attorney traumatic brain injuries Exclusions Legal Info Illinois red light cameras Barrington civil litigation attorney Illinois employee rights attorney. murder defense criminal law Illinois bicycle safety Rolling Meadows car accident lawyer Illinois employment law firm startup company Schaumburg insurance lawyers traumatic brain injury Des Plaines drug crimes lawyer Illinois workers compensation lawyer employment law deed transfer Rolling Meadows Attorney Illinois estate planning overtime pay commercial real estate Barrington drug crime attorney Whistleblower Claims Illinois rollover accident lawyers Des Plaines DUI attorney DMV Crystal Lake law firm Inverness insurance attorney Inverness traffic law firm employment law, Illinois employment laws Illinois jet ski accident lawyer Chicago traffic lawyer fiduciary rule delay slip and fall Barrington Traffic Lawyer Self-Directed IRA Accounts car crashes blended families Long Grove wills and trusts attorneys corporate law capital gains tax Inverness injury lawyer Illinois workplace lawyer Rolling Meadows personal injury attorney denied insurance claims Crystal Lake traffic lawyer Arlington Heights medical malpractice lawyer wrongful death internet School Visitation Rights Act surgical mistakes medication errors independent contractor Inverness real estate lawyer medical malpractice claims digital evidence healthcare life insurance lawyer Chicago employment attorney premises liability Long Grove real estate attorney probate claims traffic accidents Class A misdemeanor estate planning for college students Rolling Meadows insurance dispute lawyers car crash drunk driving wage theft Schaumburg drug defense lawyer estate planning trusts Illinois construction accident attorney Crystal Lake business law attorneys Illinois Sales Representative Act living trust benefits real estate Illinois Smoke Detector Act Rolling Meadows insurance dispute lawyers, insurance dispute Illinois estate planning attorney Detainer Actions Rolling Meadows car accident lawyers auto accidents problem employees BUI food poisoning Des Plaines Traffic Lawyer dynasty trusts automated cars real estate zoning underinsured motorist Barrington business law firm right to work Palatine business attorney rent to own real estate contracts Des Plaines personal injury lawyer Crystal Lake civil litigation lawyer Arlington Heights employment law attorneys Schaumburg personal injury attorney Crystal Lake pedestrian accident lawyer Arlington Heights injury attorney Chicago trucking accident attorney Mount Prospect real estate lawyer foreclosed rental property employment lawyer Affordable Care Act fatal car accidents nursing home negligence