Q) I am writing on behalf of my dad. I live in California but he lives in Loves Park, Illinois. I am leaving for work and needed him to come out here to watch his granddaughter while I am gone, he spoke to his boss to see if he would be able to take the time off; his boss said yes. This Monday, three days before he is supposed to get on his flight (tomorrow 10/19/17)his boss tells him that while he understands that my dad has family he needs to come out here and take care of, that he needs to take care of his family too and if my dad comes out here, that he will have to hire someone else and that my dad will not have a job to come back to. If my dad comes out here and this guy actually fires my dad for leaving on a trip that the boss had already approved the time off, isn’t this illegal? Also, would my dad be able to get unemployment if he is fired? My dad is about to not come because he is afraid to lose his job and have no money coming in. I’d truly appreciate any help I can get. I’ve been trying to call but no one is answering the line. This just doesn’t seem right and I’m not sure where to reach out to.
A) I’m sorry to hear about your dad’s situation. In Illinois, as in most states, employment relationships are generally “at-will,” which means that either the employer or the employee can terminate the relationship at any time, with or without cause or notice, unless there is an employment contract or union agreement that specifies otherwise.
However, if your dad’s employer had already approved his time off and then changed his mind and threatened to terminate your dad if he took the approved time off, your dad may have a case for wrongful termination or breach of contract. It’s important to note that in Illinois, there is no law that requires employers to provide paid time off (PTO), sick leave, or vacation time, but if an employer has a policy or practice of providing PTO or other benefits, they may be required to follow their own policies.
If your dad is fired under these circumstances, he may be eligible for unemployment benefits, but eligibility for unemployment benefits is determined on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on a number of factors, such as the reason for termination and the individual’s employment history and earnings. He would need to file a claim for unemployment benefits with the Illinois Department of Employment Security to determine his eligibility.
If your dad is concerned about losing his job, he may want to consider speaking with his employer again to see if they can come to a mutually agreeable solution, such as delaying his time off or finding a temporary replacement for him while he is away. If he is unable to reach a resolution with his employer, he may want to consult with an employment lawyer to discuss his legal options.
Please also be aware that an individual who files for UI benefits must meet specific eligibility requirements before benefits can be paid. Individuals must:
- Have received enough wages during the base period to establish a claim.*
- Be totally or partially unemployed.
- Be unemployed through no fault of his/her own.
- Be physically able to work.
- Be available for work.
- Be ready and willing to immediately accept work.
- Be actively looking for work.
- Be approved for training before training benefits can be paid.