This article is about wrongful termination settlements in Illinois.
The majority of these lawsuits have mixed settlements, meaning that they involved one particular, or possibly a number of claims of wrongful termination as a result of disability, breach of employment contract, workplace retaliation, gender discrimination, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity discrimination or race, color, national origin, religion discrimination.
The data below presents an overview of the different types of claims filed in conjunction with their respective volumes in the state of IL in 2017.
|State||2017 Total Charges||% of Total USA Charges||Race||Sex||Natl Origin||Religion||Color||Retaliation All Statutes||TVII Retaliation||Age||Disability||EPA||GINA|
Wrongful discharge and discrimination cases & settlements in Illinois
Leyshon v. Diehl Controls North America, Inc.
A top level company executive, Wallace C. Leyshon, sued his ex-employer for wrongful termination due to breach of contract and defamation.
Leyshon’s work contract stated that he could be immediately terminated for “cause” without prior notice. The cause was defined in the contract to include negative things, specifically “gross negligence, gross neglect of duties, gross insubordination and willful violation of any law applicable to the conduct of the Company’s business and affairs.”
In 2006, Leyshon was fired with immediate effect. His ex-employers stated that he was terminated with “cause”, but in retrospect, they could not produce any evidence of what the cause might have been. During the trial, a witness testified that the company wanted Leyshon terminated with “cause” to avoid paying him the severance to which he would have been entitled to.
The jury awarded Leyshon $2 million in compensatory damages, and $6 million in punitive damages. Source
EEOC v Professional Freezing Services, LLC.
The following case demonstrates how the law protects not only existing employees from discrimination, but job applicants as well.
William Harvel applied for a position at Professional Freezing Services LLC based in Chicago. He was not hired, because the owner found out the man had prostate cancer. A former employee testified under oath that he heard the owner of the business state the cancer to be the explicit reason for not hiring the man.
This violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, as the applicant’s health status would not have hindered his performance in any way. The EEOC sued the company, and the case was settled with a consent decree. Harvel received an $80,000 settlement. Source
Albright v. Caterpillar Inc.
Robert Albright worked for Caterpillar for 39 years. He had a perfect employment record.
He was injured on the job in 1997, when he fell down a flight of stairs and hurt his legs, arm, shoulder and legs. After some time off, he returned to work part-time. He was given medication by the company doctor, who also said he needed to start moving more, so he could swim or play golf.
He filed for worker’s compensation benefits. Caterpillar fired Albright not long after, claiming that he wasn’t injured, as he was seen planting a tree with his wife and playing golf.
Albright sued Caterpillar, and the jury awarded him $480,000 for damages to his reputation, $480,000 in lost wages and benefits and $800,000 in punitive damages. Source
EEOC v Star Transport
Two Somalian-American Muslims worked as truck drivers for Star Transport.
They refused to transport alcohol because of their religion, and they were terminated for this reason. This violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, since the company could have accommodated the religious beliefs of the 2 men. It was regular practice at the company to swap loads between drivers and this request could easily have been accommodated.
The case made it to court, and the company admitted liability. The jury each man $20,000 in compensatory damages, $100,000 in punitive damages, and $1,500 in back pay. Source
Reinneck v Taco Bell
Vicki Reinneck worked for Taco Bell in Illinois.
She was injured while working at the restaurant, and while still working there, she sought medical attention for her injuries, informed her supervisors about her injuries and of the fact that she was hiring a lawyer. She was terminated not long afterwards.
She sued Taco Bell alleging she was terminated by the company in retaliation for asserting her rights to workers’ compensation, which violates the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.
The bench trial agreed with her wrongful termination claim, and awarded her $370k in compensatory damages, $25k for mental anguish, and $1 million in punitive damages. The Illinois court of appeals affirmed the decision. Source
EEOC v Adventures in Learning
A woman worked at Adventures in Learning, a child care center based in Aurora. She became pregnant, and was forced to quit her job after her 4th month of pregnancy, as the employer did not allow her to work any longer.
Pregnancy discrimination is illegal in the USA, regulated under Title VII as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
The case was settled shortly after it was filed. Based on the consent decree, the victim received a $31,000 settlement. Source
EEOC v Staffmark Investment LLC.
Staffmark is one of the USA’s largest staffing agencies.
The company assigned Dorothy Shanks to work at a Romeoville logistics facility to inspect Sony television sets. Dorothy Shanks had a prosthetic leg, this did not interfere with her work. On her 2nd day, she was told that they did not want anyone to bump into her or knock her down so she was being removed from the work site.
She was also told that the company would find her another assignment, but they never did.
This violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the EEOC sued Staffmark. The case was settled with a consent decree, with Shanks receiving $100,000. Source
Crowley v Watson
James Crowley worked as attorney and administrator at Chicago State University.
He was ordered to withhold public documents by the university president,Wayne Watson, documents that would have been available under the Freedom of Information Act.
Crowley reported this, and other questionable university contracts to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. He was soon fired with immediate effect, instead of through a letter of intent as required by the school board.
Crowley sued the school for wrongful termination for violating the Whistle Blower Protection section of the Illinois Ethics Act. The jury awarded him $2 million in punitive damages and $960,000 in back pay, and attorneys’ fees of $318,173. Source
Steven Yahnke v Kane County, Illinois
Hired in 1986, Steven Yahnke had worked for the Sheriff’s office for 20 years, reaching the rank of sergeant.
The county received a new sheriff in 2006, Pat Perez, who had differing political views from Yahnke. Yahnke supported Perez’s opponent in the local sheriff elections.
Yahnke held a 2nd job as part-time police chief in Maple Park, which he was given permission for by the retired Sheriff.
Yahnke was fired in 2008 by Perez. He sued the County alleging political affiliation and favoritism, claiming that he was fired because the new Sheriff didn’t want Yahnke running against him in the next sheriff’s elections. This wrongful termination case was settled for $650,000. Source
EEOC v Cognis Corp (BASF)
The EEOC protects employees in the USA against unjust discrimination at the workplace. This is a fundamental right.
Cognis Corp required an employee, Steven Whitlow, to sign a “last-chance” agreement and to waive his right to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC as a condition of his continued employment.
The employee refused to sign the agreement, and he was terminated in retaliation
The EEOC sued the company on behalf of the employee. The court ultimately granted summary judgment to the EEOC, where the discharged employee received $500,000 in damages. Source
When thinking about our catalog of unlawful firing settlements from Illinois, remember the fact that the large amounts of money are caused by punitive compensation. Punitive damages are rewarded to deter organizations from engaging in the same kind of inappropriate act. Punitive compensation is extremely rare. A good number of lawsuits will settle for about $20,000 to a few hundred thousand dollars.
Even if you feel resemblance to any of these court cases, don’t forget that each and every situation is unique. This directory of wrongful termination settlements and verdicts in IL is meant for informational purposes.
Average wrongful discharge settlements in Illinois
It is easy to understand that you would like to check the amount of money you can expect to be given for your wrongful dismissal claim. In the event that you settle, the amount you acquire is normally based on these factors: lost benefits, reason of discharge, lost earnings, medical expenses, emotional distress and job search costs. Punitive damages may also be granted in rare situations, if the company acted egregiously.
As you will notice from the sample cases above, giving a median settlement for wrongful discharge claims in IL is actually really difficult, simply because each individual case is unique.
The average wrongful termination settlement in Illinois is between $4,000 – $80,000. Attorneys can be effective while reaching a larger settlement.
The majority of court or jury awards are generally higher, anywhere between $110,000 and $300,000. This is a good reason employers prefer to accept a settlement outside of court. Several years of going to court, bearing the legal costs and perhaps losing the court case in the end can certainly be very expensive.
Filing a wrongful discharge or discrimination claim in Illinois
If you believe you had been fired for some kind of unlawful reason, below is information on what you should do.
Before anything else, you will want to get in touch with a wrongful termination attorney in Illinois to ascertain whether or not there is a claim worth pursuing.
Ensure that you don’t run out of time to file the alleged claim, have a look at the Illinois statutes of limitations with regards to wrongful dismissal.
Additionally, you’ll probably need to submit a timely claim with the EEOC office in Chicago.
Here are a few guidelines on filing a wrongful termination claim.
Even though employment-at-will is the prevailing form of employment in the USA, there are laws to protect employees against unjust discrimination and harassment.
WrongfulTerminationSettlements.com was created as a compass for people who feel they have been terminated wrongfully, or discriminated against at their workplace.