If your employer has approached you about accepting a severance package, you should know that it’s important to be represented by counsel for the best possible outcome. Severance agreements usually involve the employee waiving important legal rights in return for a financial pay-out – but your legal rights may be worth more financially than the severance terms offered.
Employment Discrimination Attorney in Illinois
If an employer terminates your employment because of a disability or your age, or because of your race, religion, gender, or national origin, you have recourse under the law. On this page, you will find general information about your rights. To discuss your situation, please contact employment discrimination lawyer Richard A. Lowell.
Located in Downers Grove, Illinois, Attorney Richard A. Lowell represents clients throughout DuPage County, Cook County, and Kane County including communities such as Naperville, Oak Brook, Darien, Hinsdale, Downers Grove, Wheaton, Lombard, Glen Ellyn, Chicago, Aurora, Joliet, and Rockford.
Wrongful Termination – An Overview
Wrongful termination refers to the involuntary termination of an employee in violation of the law or an employment contract. For example, federal and some state laws enumerate specific characteristics against which employers must not discriminate. Employment contracts often spell out reasons that an employee may and may not be fired. If you believe that your employer terminated you in violation of the law or a contract, speak with an experienced employment law attorney for advice.
Under federal law, employers must not discriminate against employees based on certain characteristics. It is illegal to make employment decisions based on:
In addition, some states ban discrimination based on characteristics such as sexual orientation and familial status.
Wrongful Termination Claims
If you have been wrongfully terminated, you have rights. You may be able to recover monetary damages against your former employer or, if you have not been released yet, negotiate a favorable severance agreement. If you are facing wrongful termination, an employment law attorney can help you make sense of the situation.
Employers pay unemployment insurance payroll taxes for each employee. If an employee becomes unemployed through no fault of his or her own, the employee is usually eligible for unemployment compensation. The employee must apply for these benefits through a state agency. Sometimes the process is straightforward; other times it is more complex because the employee was fired or voluntarily gave up the job for good cause, or because the employer has challenged the claim. If you have concerns about unemployment insurance, please discuss the matter with an experienced employment law attorney.
Severance Pay and Benefits
A severance agreement is a contract between a departing employee and an employer. The severance payment is a reward for service and part of an exchange of duties between the employee and employer. In the agreement, the employee typically agrees not to sue the employer for wrongful termination or any other employment issue. Because the employee must receive something valuable in return for the release of liability to be valid, the employer agrees to pay the employee additional compensation. This is often called the severance package. Please contact an employment law attorney if you have questions about severance agreements.
Some employers ask their employees to sign non-compete agreements. Non-compete agreements may prohibit employees from working in certain geographical regions or sectors of an industry once they have left the company. Employers do this for a variety of reasons, including protecting their trade secrets and customer goodwill. Courts do not always uphold non-compete agreements, however. Limits on the right to earn a living are closely scrutinized. For answers to your questions about non-compete agreements, please contact an employment law attorney.
Wrongful Termination Resource Links
Department of Labor (DOL)
Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)