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You’ve Been Fired – What You Need to Know if You Were Terminated Unlawfully

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Being unexpectedly terminated from your employment can be a disrupting experience – especially when it comes with little or no warning. It can also be particularly troubling if you believe that you were terminated on account of your race, ethnicity, religion, or any other protected classification or characteristic. While Illinois is an at-will employment state and either you or your employer may terminate your employment without giving notice and/or reason, an employer cannot terminate your employment for a discriminatory reason and attempt to hide behind the at-will employment laws. When your employment is terminated in contravention of the law, you are said to be the victim of a wrongful termination.

What if I Believe I Am Being Wrongfully Terminated?

If you find yourself called into your supervisor’s office and believe you are about to be terminated for an unlawful or discriminatory reason, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Making a scene, threatening your supervisor, or engaging in aggressive conduct will rarely accomplish anything and may give the employer an excuse to terminate you. In certain circumstances, such behavior may even result in you being charged with a criminal offense. Instead, attempt to remain as calm as possible and pay attention to all the details and things that are said during the termination process.
  2. Beware of violating Illinois’ eavesdropping law. Resist the temptation to immediately pull out your smartphone and begin recording the incident. If the conversation is taking place in a private location (such as your employer’s office) and all those present do not consent to the conversation being recorded, you may violate the law if you film or record the conversation anyway. But you can and should write a detailed summary of everything that was said as soon as possible while it is still fresh in your memory.
  3. Try to obtain specifics from your employer. If your employer offers you an opportunity to ask questions during the termination process, attempt to obtain the reason or reasons why your employer is terminating your employment. This can be helpful if your employer later attempts to justify your termination on other grounds.       If you have clear evidence that a stated reason is false, you can calmly explain why the reason is not accurate. E.g. showing your phone log to prove you did call in sick if they claim there was a no call no show.
  4. Take detailed notes about the termination and the circumstances surrounding your termination as soon as possible. Write down who was present at your termination and whether any reason was provided to you about why you were being terminated.

What To Do With Your Information

Take your information and visit with the experienced Illinois wrongful termination lawyers at Goldman & Ehrlich as soon as possible. We will assist you by evaluating the facts of your case and helping you understand what rights and legal options you may have. Contact our firm at 312-332-6733 or contact us through our website.