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


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