Chicago, IL asked in Employment Law for Illinois

Q: Six of our IT group calling in sick one day protected by law or can we be fired for this?

I work in the IT department of a large law firm, I'd like to know if 6 of us call out sick to send our company a message is protected by law or could we be fired for this? We are critical employees and are required to be on-site everyday while most of the company gets a new hybrid work benefit where they only need to be on-site 1-3 days a week depending on their position and manager. We've emailed HR, talked to our Manager and Director and we nothing has changed. We want to be compensated extra for not being able to enjoy this new Hybrid work policy.

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: Because you have assembled a group of IT employees that work together in the same department, a department that you say is critically needed, it is highly unlikely that the law firm management will terminate all of you at the same time. It is much more likely that they will identify the leader(s) of the "stop work" or "walk-out" group and terminate them.

As to whether they can do that, the answer is yes. Why?

Because Florida is an “at-will” state, which means private employers are free to solicit, hire, promote, demote, suspend, terminate, reinstate, and rehire employees for any reason—or for no reason--at any time, i.e., “at will.” The only thing employers cannot lawfully do is to make any of these employment decisions solely based upon the employee’s race, gender, age, national origin, handicap, disability, religion, or whether single, married, or pregnant.

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