While not a whistle-blower case per se (these cases tend to be when an employee tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonesty or illegal activities and is subsequently punished for it), as it seems while you did inform an authority figure, they found a way around retaliation with the vague "Don't Fit In" excuse to terminate. You should be aware that Illinois is a right to work state and as such, an employee can be terminated pretty much at anytime and in your case, with very little rationale.
I would caution against making a potentially ethnically charged comment as to the hiring of an African American to replace you it is not at all clear what the "qualifications" for your job were and how or why this new employee is not capable of doing the job.
I often have clients in this situation. They want some resolution but they, and you will find that most attorneys will not take a case on this absent even more damning information in your possession. What I have found that works is to retain an attorney who will gather your information and prepare an affidavit for your signature that outlines the entire scope of your situation. You provide facts, evidence, and statements to support your position. We then send this package to the corporate Human Resources/Legal Department of the larger company you worked for.
In some cases, this information is ignored. As your old boss was recently terminated for theft, the company may not want this information in the public sphere, so perhaps they will reach out to you. What can reasonably be obtained is for them to not protest your claim for unemployment and perhaps offer you some sort of severance package. I have even had one client who had a similar situation become re-hired and went from support to branch manager of a video game store. Results vary.
I would be encouraging you to focus on the reporting of theft to the now known thief over this discrimination perception in any event.
I'd be happy to give you a free consultation regarding exploring the concept of drafting a letter to your corporate office. To manage expectations here, there are numerous factors you have not disclosed such as how long you worked for this company, your level of education and training, your work history at this employer, any internal theft reporting programs the company may have had in place, the fiscal situation of this company, just to name a few that might influence the likelihood of a positive and productive response from your old employer's corporate office.
Good luck, and all of my contact information can easily be found at my website www.ZippToCourt.com
This answer is marginal legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Every client and case is unique. The best advice is to always consult with an attorney. Free legal resources at www.ZippToCourt.com
It is certainly possible that you would have a case. it would not be classic whistleblower case – but that doesn't mean a claim doesn't exist. However, your f facts are too sparse to make any kind of the termination. There are lots of good employment lawyers in your area and I recommend that you contact one or more as soon as is possible.
If you found this Answer to be helpful, please mark it as such. Remember, however, this is only generalized commentary on your question. It is not to be taken as legal advice. Even "in person" interviews leave attorneys with plenty of questions – the Internet makes it crazy. Thank you Chuck Watson 217.544.6165