Illinois lawmakers should act now to end unjust firings and encourage just cause practices that advance economic recovery and workplace safety. Last year, over 68% of workers reported they, or a co-worker, worked while sick or injured to avoid being fired. We must act now for the safety and stability of Illinois families, so that workplace mistreatment does not result in needless unemployment.
This year, Stable Jobs Now introduced the Secure Jobs Act, which was developed by and for Black and Brown working families. This law will ensure job stability by implementing a “just cause” standard to prevent unjust and arbitrary termination. This act also bans actions such as a reduction in hours, demotion, or decisions that push workers out of their jobs by creating a hostile work environment. Passing the Secure Jobs Act will end the culture of fear that pressures Illinoisians to work in unsafe conditions and allow workers to speak up from a position of equal grounds.
Almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, workers continue to experience mass unemployment and abuse at the hands of employers that cost workers their health, safety, and financial stability. Unjust and arbitrary firings have endangered the stability of our communities by exacerbating the current unemployment crisis, workplace COVID transmission, and racial inequality at work. Workers are hungry for real change, and it starts with what’s at the roots of today’s labor practices.
Black and brown workers, who are already disproportionately represented as low-wage and essential workers, are more likely to experience mistreatment and unjust firings, reinforcing racial inequality at work.
- Black workers are most likely to have experienced unfair discharges--41 percent as compared to 32 percent of Latinx workers and 35 percent of white workers.
- Latinx and Black workers were much more likely to have experienced unfair discipline at work, with 46 percent and 42 percent reporting such experiences, respectively, as compared to just 36 percent of white workers.
- Latinx workers are much more likely than workers of other races to report that they or a co-worker worked under harmful conditions out of fear of firing or discipline.
Constant turnover is costly and bad for Illinois’ economic recovery. Quality, family-supporting jobs are critical to our economic stability. Reducing turnover by clarifying grounds for termination will improve work conditions and worker performance over time. This legislation is simply what good employers already do - Nothing more, nothing less. And by concretizing this in law, we will have the ability to hold those who endanger, mistreat, and coerce workers accountable.
At-will employment has always allowed employers to abandon workers without consequence. When the employer has the ability to fire people without reason or notice, there is nothing that prevents or interrupts misuse of this power over peoples’ lives.
Read our report: http://nelp.org/publication/secure-jobs-safe-workplaces-stable-communities-ending-will-employment-illinois/
In These Times Article: https://inthesetimes.com/article/at-will-just-cause-employment-union-labor-illinois