wrongful termination

Can You Be Terminated for Your Conduct Outside of Work?

When not at work, you may not be thinking about your conduct and how it may impact your job. However, it’s important to determine whether or not your conduct outside of work could have you legally terminated from your job. Whether or not you can be terminated from your job depends upon whether what you did was protected under state law and whether or not you’re an at-will employee. 

At-will Employees

If you aren’t a union worker or a government employee who has special protection, you are likely an at-will employee. At-will employees can be fired for any reason – or no reason at all – so long as the reason isn’t illegal. Most employees are categorized as at-will, even those who aren’t under an employment contract. 

But while at-will employees can be terminated at any time without notice or reason, they are also permitted to quit their job without notice or reason. This means that you can be terminated or quit for a bad reason. You can be the best at your job and still be terminated. 

What Reasons Are Illegal?

As mentioned, you can be terminated for any reason so long as the reason is not protected under federal law. Under federal law, employers are not allowed to terminate their employees based upon their protected class. Simply put, an employer may not terminate an employee because of his or her race, religion, sex, nationality, disability, or sex. There is no federal protection for employees due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This means that in most of the country you can be terminated from your job for being gay or transgender. However, under the Illinois Human Rights Act, Illinois is one of just 18 states in the U.S. to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

This means that aside from being terminated because you belong to any of these protected groups of people, you can be terminated for any other reason. This means that your employer can choose to terminate you from your position because of what you do outside of work. Maybe you spend your time outside of work golfing and your employer hates golfing. Your employer would be within his or her legal right to terminate you because of this. It doesn’t matter that you are golfing outside of work – off the clock. 

The IL Employment Law Attorneys at ST Legal Group Can Help

If you have been terminated from your job and believe that it is because of an illegal reason (a state-protected reason or a reason related to you belonging to a protected class of people), you should be able to remedy the situation through monetary compensation and/or reinstatement to your position. A knowledgeable and experienced Illinois employment law attorney can help you to fight for what you deserve. The qualified attorneys at ST Legal Group can help to protect your employment rights. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!