Can I sue my previous employer for firing me without the written and final warnings as required by company policy?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue my previous employer for firing me without the written and final warnings as required by company policy?

I was fired from my job 4 months ago. I was told I was being fired because I had passed the allowed unscheduled time. I was never told I was amost to the limit. Their policy is that an

employee will get a written warning when they are half way and a final warning at 75% of the unscheduled time. I never received a warning and was fired.

Asked on April 14, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Company policy is generally not enforceable in court, unless it is embodied in an actual written employment contract, or if it's in an employee handbook or manual, that book has *no* limitations or disclaimers in it. (If there's anything at all in the book or manual to the effect that "employment is employment at will," "nothing in this book creates a contract of employment or right to employment," or "policies may be changed at will," then nothing in the book is enforceable.)
It's very rare to have a legally enforceable policy; generally, the policy is simply for for internal guidance--it states how the company thinks its managers *should* handle things, not how they must. In the majority of cases, company policy is not enforceable, and the company may ignore it if it likes. So most likely, they did not have to give you the warnings before termination.
If you did have a written contract or a written policy statement with no disclaimers or limitations, bring them to an employment law attorney to review with you--you may have an viable case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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