Employment Contracts

Employment Contracts

Employment in Illinois is considered “at-will,” which generally means that either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason or no reason at all, as long as the employer’s action is not prohibited by state or federal law. The state and federal laws prohibiting the termination of an employment relationship include laws prohibiting discrimination based on the employee’s membership in a protected class, or prohibiting retaliation for the employee’s engagement in protected activity. In addition, the employer may not terminate an employee if doing so is in violation of an employment contract.

Under some circumstances, employers and employees (with or without the help of unions) will form a contract governing the employment relationship. The contract may define any term or condition of employment, such as: wages, hours, benefits, job duties, termination requirements, duration of employment, grievance procedures, confidentiality agreementsseverance packages, and non-compete agreements. Once a contract is formed, it is legally binding upon both parties and can be enforced in court.

If a party violates the contract, the non-violating party may be entitled to damages. The damages are generally determined by calculating how much the charging party lost due to the violating party’s actions. For example, if the parties signed a one-year employment contract, and the employer wrongfully terminated the employee after eight months, the employee may be entitled to four months’ wages and benefits.

Our Employment Law Services

We regularly advise individuals regarding their employment contract rights – before, during, and following employment. If you have questions about the terms of your contract, believe your employer has violated the terms of your contract, or you would like help negotiating your contract, contact Siegel & Dolan to speak to a Chicago employment lawyer.

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