Illinois is an at-will state, so employers can terminate an employee for any reason, except an illegal one. For example, employers can’t legally fire workers for whistleblowing, filing a workers’ compensation claim or something else protected by law. Although proving wrongful termination is not easy, it is not impossible either.
Here are a few different ways to strengthen your wrongful termination claim.
In order to have a successful wrongful termination case, you must have sufficient documentation. Important documents may include your personnel file, a copy of company policies, performance reviews, pay stubs and termination notice. They can help your lawyer prove that your termination wasn’t legal.
Write Down Everything That Happened
It is also helpful to write down the details surrounding your termination. Jot down everything you remember about the days leading up to your termination. For instance, if you noticed that your boss and coworkers were hostile towards you before you got fired, you will want to include that information in your notes. Memories can fade over time, so it is essential to take these notes as soon as possible.
Prove That Your Employer Knew About Protected Activity
If you believe that you were fired for whistleblowing, you must establish that your employer knew that you blew the whistle. For example, if you reported that your employer billed for services that were not performed and were fired shortly after, you have to show that your employer knows about the protected activity.
Hire an Experienced Employment Lawyer
If you plan to pursue a wrongful termination case against your employer, it is important to have a skilled employment lawyer on your side. A lawyer will have extensive knowledge about the specific employment laws in your state and help you build a strong case. When you speak to your lawyer, be completely honest about your case and include as many details as possible. The more your lawyer knows, the better he or she can help you.
Be Prepared to Go to Court
While many wrongful termination cases get settled out of court, there is always a chance that your case will go to trial. Therefore, it is important to be prepared to give your testimony and face your former employer face to face.