At-will employment in the United States is favored by employers since it is flexible from a recruitment and dismissal perspective, and allows for businesses to ensure that they have the right personnel in place at all times. The laws around it, however, can be complex and vary from state to state, requiring business owners to know and understand their employment laws to ensure they don’t unlawfully or unintentionally carry out any hiring, firing or other HR-related activity that may find them in a legal battle with an employee or the state.

For business owners in Chicago, navigating the complexities of at-will employment laws can be challenging. Luckily, working with an experienced lawyer or legal counsel can help ensure your business is compliant with the local laws and also help should any legal issues arise.

In this article, we’ll discuss at-will employment and what it means for employers in Chicago as well as how to find the right legal help to adhere to business laws in the city.

What is At-Will Employment?

At-will employment is an arrangement between an employer and an employee, whereby the employee is working without a contract that sets out the terms of their employment, such as how long they are to stay, how much they are to be paid, when their salary reviews will be, etc.

Under an at-will system, the employment relationship can be terminated by either the employer or the employee at anytime, with or without cause, meaning neither party is requiring to produce any sort of evidence to back up the termination; the only requirement is that the termination follows labor laws established in the state or municipality.

At-will employment in the United States is strongly favored by employers, since it gives employers more control and flexibility in the hiring and dismissal of staff. It also ensures employers can cut costs and save money, as there is no need to enter into any contractual obligations with their employees. However, it also means that employees can easily be let go without reason, and no compensation - other than that which was agreed upon prior to the termination.

Overview of At‐Will Employment Laws in Chicago

At-will employment laws are determined by each state and can vary greatly from place to place. In Chicago, the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act governs employment decisions, setting out the conditions for any job in Illinois to be considered “at-will”.

According to this act, employees in Illinois and Chicago must be given reasonable notice of any changes in employment. The act also applies to terminations and outlines that the employer must give reasonable notice of any impending job termination. The act additionally requires that employers give their employees written materials outlining their rights and responsibilities in the workplace as well as their reasons for termination.

On a federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits unemployment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion or national origin. This means that employers in Chicago cannot terminate an employee on the basis of any of the protected characteristics under Title VII.

At-will employment law is indeed complex and business owners in Chicago need to be clear on their own responsibilities as employers to ensure they don’t find themselves in a legal battle with an employee.

Finding Legal Counsel and Attorneys Who Understand Chicago Employment Law

Hiring a business lawyer or legal counsel experienced in at-will employment laws in Chicago can be very beneficial in helping employers enforce their policies in accordance with the local laws, protecting the business from any legal issues when terminating an employee.

One great online platform providing access to experienced lawyers who understand Chicago’s employment laws is UpCounsel. Attorneys available on UpCounsel have an average of 14 years of experience and their legal profiles let business see client ratings and reviews of their past work. UpCounsel provides access to high quality attorneys on-demand and can ensure businesses are in compliance with the legal code in Illinois while reducing the costs of legal services.

Last ideas

At-will employment laws in the United States allows for employers across the country to ensure they have the right personnel in place while giving them the flexibility to make changes within their workforce as needed. While this can be a great tool for businesses, if not managed correctly, it may lead to legal conflicts with employees or American labor law.

For employers in Chicago, it is important to be aware of the local employment laws and to work with experienced attorneys who understand the specifics of the law and can help the business when hiring, firing or dealing with any other HR issue. Platforms like UpCounsel provide access to great lawyers who are experienced in the Chicago’s at-will employment laws and are well-versed in the language of the legal system.


At-Will Employment,

Employment Law,