Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: What You Need To Know To Avoid Being Terminated Without A Reason Or Notice
"At-will" employment is the legal rule in Illinois and in many other states. It allows employers and employees to terminate an employment relationship at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. This “without cause” termination language is often included in employment contracts. You may prefer this laissez-faire approach to employment contracts if you like having the freedom to leave your employer whenever you wish or at a moment’s notice. However, if you prefer more security from your employment relationship, as most professionals do, you need to know what the contract provides for before you sign it. To determine that you should understand the difference between the legal terms of “For Cause” and “Without Cause.”
Termination for Cause
A “For Cause” provision in an employment contract requires the employer to offer a proper reason for termination. This means that your employer may only terminate your employment if there is a reason (e.g. failure to complete medical records in a timely manner). A notice requirement may be included in this situation and may allow a certain number of days to correct the problem before actual termination can occur. However, this varies from contract to contract.
Termination Without Cause
A “Termination without Cause” provision requires the employer, and often the employee, to provide written notice of intent to terminate the contract. It allows a certain time period before termination can occur. Termination “without cause” can be for any reason or no reason as long as it is not done for illegal motives such as discrimination or retaliation. Most notice requirements range from 30 days to 120 days. Since there is no specific legal requirement as to the number of days, it is subject to negotiation between the parties. Without a notice provision stating the number of days required from the time notice of intent to terminate to the last date of employment, an employer can terminate at any moment without recourse and without any severance pay unless otherwise specified in the contract. From a financial perspective this is very risky for the employee, especially one who has relocated for a job or cannot be without a job while looking for a new one.
As always, we are here to assist you in negotiating and drafting employment contracts and to guide you every step of the way!
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Articles distributed by Malecki & Brooks Law Group, LLC are advertisements and summaries for general information and discussion purposes only. They are not full analyses of the matters presented, legal, or otherwise, and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
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