Employment Law

Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Employment Law
This answer was rated:

We are a travel agency operating in the state of Illinois.

We have a 12-year employee...
We are a travel agency operating in the state of Illinois. We have a 12-year employee who was overheard by several staff members making a racial slur to a client on the telephone. The client was upset and contacted a different staff member to complain of the agent being "extremely rude", but so far has not taken any other actions. A racial slur is not acceptable in this office and not to be tolerated, so I would like to terminate this employee. Is this act sufficient on its own to be cause for termination? The employee in question is over the age of 70, full time, and in the past we have had to address some concerns about her hearing the improper information, but never was age or hearing ever mentioned as reasons for terminating, never even a thought. But that has nothing to do with this issue. Is there any risk or preventions of which I should be aware?
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Employment Law Question
Answered in 16 minutes by:
10/1/2013
John
John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,885
Experience: Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
Verified
Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m happy to assist you with your question today.

I do not believe the employee would have a basis to sue under state or federal law and this would be a valid reason to terminate employment from the question as you have stated it. First a little background on Illinois law. Illinois like most states is an employment at will state - meaning the employee can be disciplined or terminated for any reason that is not otherwise a violation of law. These exceptions are the civil rights protections (e.g., age, race, sex, religion), violations of public policy (e.g., fired for attending jury duty, for refusing to break the law, for reporting illegal activity by the employer (aka a "whistleblower violation"), or having some contractual right to a just cause employment (meaning the employer cannot terminate you without industrial due process - which basically insures a fair and accurate investigation and decision). Without any of these exceptions, courts find that the employer has a legitimate business right to operate its business however it sees fit and the court will not second-guess the employer.

In this case you have an employee that exposed your agency to potential legal liability if the customer were to complain to the state attorney general or human rights commission. This is a perfectly legitimate business reason for termination. The employee is part of the protected age class under the civil rights laws (being over 40), but that doesn't protect him from ever having to be subject to discipline or discharge. He'd have to not only prove in lawsuit that he was terminated because of his age, but that this racial slur was not a legitimate non-discriminatory reason to terminate him. That would be a very difficult burden for him, and I'm doubtful an attorney would even take his case. Further any civil rights investigation would be dropped as soon as you revealed to the agency that he was terminated for using a racial slur...because these very agencies are set up to protect civil rights!

The thing I would recommend you do is write a letter for this employee, and to place a copy in his personnel file, the findings of your investigation of this racial slur incident and the reasoning for his termination - i.e. that you have found that he made a racial slur to a customer, that you have no tolerance for discrimination against customers and the same is the reason for his termination. What that does is, if the civil rights agencies want to investigate, or if a plaintiff's attorney wants to review his matter, you have clearly stated and legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the termination.

I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.

John
John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,885
Experience: Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
Verified
John and 87 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Ask John Your Own Question
John
John
John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,885
5,885 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Exclusively practice labor and employment law.

John is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I must thank you all for such a positive and knowledgeable Expert in your Employment Law category. She has provided much relief and answers for me in the midst of dealing with a case. I am totally pleased with her customer service and care.

MildredWashington, DC

Excellent direction from Socrateaser to help me preserve and pursue my rights as a proud American who has become unemployed in this messed-up economic downfall. Thank you

Happy CustomerDenver, CO

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Tina

Tina

Lawyer

8,184 satisfied customers

JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.

Allen M., Esq.

Allen M., Esq.

Employment Lawyer

12,549 satisfied customers

Employment/Labor Law Litigation

Marsha411JD

Marsha411JD

Lawyer

12,316 satisfied customers

Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Lawyer

12,054 satisfied customers

Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.

JB Umphrey

JB Umphrey

Lawyer

6,273 satisfied customers

Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.

John

John

Employment Lawyer

5,885 satisfied customers

Exclusively practice labor and employment law.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Attorney

3,007 satisfied customers

I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.

< Previous | Next >

Related Employment Law Questions
Illinois whistleblower protection. Union Full time. Att is
Illinois whistleblower protection JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time? Customer: Union Full time JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
244 satisfied customers
My employment was terminated on January 4th 2018. In my
my employment was terminated on January 4th 2018. In my severance agreement my employer states that my health insurance coverage ended at midnight that day and that I would be eligible for COBRA cover… read more
Infolawyer
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
12,054 satisfied customers
Employment/hiring discrimination queston. Dallas, Texas. I
I am an emergency physician with over 60,000 clinical hours of experience. I applied for a full time job at Parkland Medical Center in Dallas. Everything appeared to be going well. I personally brought in the final documents needed for the application. The next week I received an email saying that they didn't feel that we were "a good match".… read more
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Doctoral Degree
7,529 satisfied customers
Filing a whistleblower claim procedure and protocol. I have
Filing a whistleblower claim procedure and protocol … read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
244 satisfied customers
I was recently terminated from my employment recently
I was recently terminated from my employment recently terminated me and are not willing to pay my last two weeks of work. I am an exempt employee and I believe this is a federal law that you are unabl… read more
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq.
Employment Lawyer
Juris Doctor, Cum Laude
12,549 satisfied customers
Age discrimination. terminated for my age. false reason for
age discrimination. terminated for my age. false reason for termination. … read more
Loren Stone
Loren Stone
481 satisfied customers
Can I be considered a "Whistleblower" following my recent
can I be considered a "Whistleblower" following my recent termination (2 weeks ago) if during the "Appeal" process, I provide my former employer with a list of employee who engaged in misconduct; one … read more
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq
Doctoral Degree
17,298 satisfied customers
I have an employment termination question. HR Manger was in
HR Manger was in the room when the new CFO fired me. Offered severance package of 18k. … read more
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Doctoral Degree
7,529 satisfied customers
I filed a discrimination compliant against my employer. The
I filed a discrimination compliant against my employer. The case is before Miami EEOC judge; since July. No hearing has been set up. How long does it take to get a hearing in Miami? … read more
Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq.
Managing Attorney
Doctoral Degree
2 satisfied customers
I am experiencing discrimination from my employer. Her
Hi, I am experiencing discrimination from my employer. Her business is in a start up phase and we are only now getting started with legitimizing the business (registered as a business, and I'm not on … read more
John
John
Employment Lawyer
5,885 satisfied customers
Employment discrimination. Work from home in NJ, office in
Employment discrimination JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in? Customer: Work from home in NJ, office in NYC JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," uni… read more
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Doctoral Degree
7,529 satisfied customers
My employer terminated me on Oct 18, 2018. I have questions
My employer terminated me on Oct 18, 2018. I have questions about whistleblowing in a corporate setting (non government) and protections for bringing attention to illegal and unethical business practi… read more
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq.
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
244 satisfied customers
Is there a wrongful termination or discrimination case if an
Is there a wrongful termination or discrimination case if an employee gets laid off after taking a 2 week medical leave for surgery for breast cancer? … read more
Roy Hadavi
Roy Hadavi
Attorney
Juris Doctorate
987 satisfied customers
I was terminated by my company CEO after Whistleblowing to
I was terminated by my company CEO after Whistleblowing to the representative of our Vietnamese parent company, regarding fraud by the CEO, and misappropriation of $1M trying to cover it up. … read more
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Doctoral Degree
7,529 satisfied customers
Can you help with an employment discrimination issue? MA,
Can you help with an employment discrimination issue? … read more
Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq
Juris Doctor
3,185 satisfied customers
Spended/ and Terminated from employment with Comcast
spended/ and Terminated from employment with Comcast Cablevision for a false allegation of misconduct 3 days after making a FMLA inquiry through my jobs Disability insurance (Sedgwick). I made the inq… read more
Roy Hadavi
Roy Hadavi
Attorney
Juris Doctorate
987 satisfied customers
Wrongful termination due to disability discrimination.
Wrongful termination due to disability discrimination. … read more
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B.
Juris Doctor
28,689 satisfied customers
Do they have whistleblower protection for employees in, I
Do they have whistleblower protection for employees in virginia … read more
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B.
Juris Doctor
28,689 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x