Understanding Termination Requirements For Employers And Employees In Illinois

A man dressed in a suit holding a box containing a plantEnding your time with a company can produce anxiety and uncertainty, especially if the termination is not your choice, or you do not know what to expect. Understanding the legal requirements that both you and your employer must follow will help you as you take steps to exit your company. Keep reading this article to find out:

  • Whether your employer is required to give you a reason or a specific notice period once they have decided to end your employment.
  • How an employment attorney can help you if you are terminated, and what you must do to have your attorney attend a meeting with your employer.
  • What obligations you may have to your employer even after you have exited the company.

Is An Employer Required To Give A Reason And A Certain Notice Period To Terminate An Executive Under Illinois Law?

No, employers are not required to give any reason or notice period, as Illinois operates on at-will employment. This means you can leave at any time, and your employer can terminate you at any time without giving you notice. Of course, you will probably want to know why you were terminated, but they are not required to give a reason.

If An Executive Suspects They Will Be Fired, Can They Request To Have An Attorney On Hand?

Yes, you can always request to have an attorney on hand, but you must give sufficient notice so that both parties can bring in an attorney. You can also ask to have a union representative on hand, or a third-party neutral person in the room if your employer does not have a third-party neutral.

Problems can arise if you do not give your employer enough notice that you would like to bring an attorney with you. They will likely shut down the meeting opportunity if you arrive with counsel because they will feel at a disadvantage if you did not give them notice. They will want to have their own attorney in the room.

Our firm has been hired before on short notice for these situations, and the employer usually does not feel comfortable moving forward without their own attorney present. They prefer to reschedule the meeting for a later date when their attorney is available, or to meet without counsel. In these cases, both parties would report back to their individual attorneys, and then their attorneys would connect afterward.

How Can An Attorney Help If An Executive Suspects They Will Be Fired?

There are many benefits to having an attorney present if you suspect you will be terminated. First of all, you have someone there to document and highlight key points in the conversation and act as a witness. This also provides an opportunity for the parties to discuss the pros and cons of moving forward, such as what will happen if a termination occurs today.

For example, it could result in litigation after the fact. To avoid litigation, the parties may decide that it would be best to convert the termination into a severance package.

An attorney can help both parties be proactive versus reactive once the termination happens. Your attorney is also able to guide you with legal advice during the course of the termination.

Often, we are heated in these situations, and we may say something that could be held against us if litigation occurs later. The other party may claim that you did wrong, or state that they are clearly unhappy with your performance. It’s difficult to keep a cool head when these comments arise, but your attorney can advise you on how to respond, whether you should respond at all, or what kind of response you should give at that time.

If A Professional Or An Executive Is Terminated, Is The Employee Bound To Non-Compete Agreements?

Whether you are bound to a non-compete agreement depends on your contract and what you agreed to at the time you were hired, which is something you should look out for when you receive your employment contract. The state of Illinois also has laws regarding requirements for non-compete agreements. For instance, in order to have a non-compete agreement in Illinois, your position must have a salary of at least $75,000.

Not all executives enter into a non-compete agreement; it boils down to what you agreed to at the time of hiring. If you agreed to enter into a non-compete clause, then yes, you are required to abide by this agreement.

The clause you signed details and outlines the terms of what that non-compete agreement entails. It might state that you cannot work for a direct competitor. It might even identify that direct competition, or the amount of time you are unable to work for that competitor. Alternatively, it could be general, ambiguous language that you cannot go work for a competing company within this industry, which leaves the agreement very broad and open.

For instance, in Chicago, there is a medical district where most of the medical facilities are located. If you work in medical healthcare in Chicago and you sign a non-compete clause that says you are not allowed to work for a competitor within a nine-mile radius, you may not be able to work in the entire county if you leave your company.

This is one example of why it is important to review your contract in detail before you sign. Unless you can negotiate the contract before you sign, you are tied to the terms you agree to.

If An Executive Or Other Employee Is Terminated, Are They Entitled To Any Unpaid Vacation Or Sick Days, Shares, Or Other Payouts?

Whether you are entitled to any payouts depends on the language of your collective bargaining agreement and your employee handbook. Some companies have policies stating that if you don’t use it, you lose it.

However, in most situations, they do pay you out for your unpaid vacation or sick days. Companies usually have a policy that if you have accrued any unused vacation or sick days and you are terminated, you receive a payout.

If the structure of your agreement allows you to receive shares and contributions, then you do. But one precaution you should be aware of is with company-matched retirement plans.

If your company was paying into your retirement vehicle and you are terminated, they may be able to retract the matched payment contributions. This could apply to your 401k, pension, or any other retirement bill. In these cases, you would walk away with only what you actually paid, losing 50% of what you had grossed over that time from your company’s contributions.

When Is An Executive Or Professional Generally Offered Severance If Their Employment Is Terminated In Illinois?

Severance usually comes when the employer is doing the layoff. When an employer is terminating you and asking you to exit the company, they usually offer a severance agreement for you to leave. This could be because they found grounds for termination, or because downsizing is requiring layoffs due to something outside the company’s control.

Another situation where a severance package might be offered is in the event that you are threatening a lawsuit, or you are actively going after your employer at an administrative level. This could be through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a state agency. In this case, the parties can craft a severance agreement in exchange for you waiving the lawsuit against them.

Can Hiring An Experienced Employment Law Attorney Help An Executive Or Other Professional Get A Better Severance Agreement?

Although it’s not a guarantee, in most situations, because of the level of expertise, having an employment attorney on your side will help you obtain a better severance package. The first step would be to check whether you have grounds for a severance package, which usually involves leveraging a future lawsuit in exchange for a severance.

This means more than just thinking your employer should offer you six months instead of three weeks. You must be ready to file a lawsuit against your employer if they do not agree to give you the six months that you are requesting.

Our decision to file a lawsuit must be based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the termination. We must expect that our legal claim will be successful in court and will more likely be resolved with more money than what you are currently asking.

It must be in the best interest of the company and the parties involved to resolve the issues with the severance package. It will always be beneficial for you to work with an experienced employment law attorney, which is likely to get you a better severance agreement.

When An Executive Or Other Professional Is Terminated Or Let Go For Other Reasons, Do They Have Any Lingering Obligations To Their Former Employee?

If you have been terminated by your employer, you may be wondering whether you have any obligations to your company. Your obligations to your employer will depend on your level of expertise and what your role was within the company. Your main obligation is to turn over any laptops, business credit cards, or other company property.

If you had a higher level of responsibility, you may be required to remain available for six months to a year, and sometimes up to two years, to answer any questions. You might also have to participate in any investigations that you may have firsthand knowledge about.

These investigations are usually in human resources departments. If you are part of internal investigations for employee complaints of discrimination or harassment, you may have to participate after you exit the company because employees have significant time to bring a charge.

If the employee waits until the last possible day, when the statute of limitations is about to expire, and they bring the lawsuit, there is a great possibility that you will have to be involved in the claims and internal investigations. Your company may ask that you stay on standby in case they need to bring you in to help defend the company, which is unfortunate.

If you left the company on bad terms, you are unlikely to want to help your former employer and defend or explain anything. However, this is often a lingering obligation that you must participate in any future litigation within a particular timeframe outlined by the company. This is usually a one-to-two-year obligation.

For more information on the Required Notice For Terminating An Executive In IL, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling: +1-888 5WHISTLE today.

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