The Chicago Tribune is reporting that a DuPage County judge has issued a ruling upholding the decision of the Oak Brook police and fire commission to terminate Stephen Peterson’s employment in 2011. The 33-year-old son of convicted killer Drew Peterson allegedly withheld information, testified in a contradictory manner, and otherwise exercised poor judgment following the 2007 disappearance of his father’s fourth wife. Village officials also alleged that Peterson’s son removed at least three firearms from Peterson’s residence so that they would not be seized by authorities during a search. Peterson’s son appealed his termination from the Oak Brook Police Department to the DuPage County court, and is likely to file a further appeal, which must be filed within 30 days of the judge’s written decision.
In addition to appealing his termination, Peterson’s son also has filed $10 million federal lawsuit against the Oak Brook Police Department, which remains pending.
While employers often are free to terminate employees at will, there are situations in which termination of employment can be illegal. For instance, employers may not discriminate against employees by terminating them on the basis of their race or sex. While the basis of Stephen Peterson’s wrongful termination suit is unclear in this case, it is likely that he argued that the employer acted illegally in terminating his employment in some way, or that the employer had insufficient evidence or cause to terminate him.
If your employer has terminated you for an inappropriate reason, you may be eligible to file an action for wrongful termination or otherwise appeal your termination. As wrongful termination cases can be complex, you should contact a qualified Illinois employment lawyer for help.