Retaliation is a form of discrimination that refers to a negative action by an employer against an employee for filing a complaint about an illegal conduct. This may include discrimination, failure to pay overtime, harassment, workplace safety violations, and others. A variety of state and federal statutes, along with Illinois common law, keeps an employee safe from retaliatory discharge when they engage in a certain conduct or deny being a part of any unlawful conduct.
State and Federal Laws for Retaliatory Discharge
The employment laws that protect workers from retaliation include:
The Equal Pay Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Occupational Safety and Health Act
These laws are applicable in the following situations:
1. Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
An employer may not fire a worker for exercising their rights under the above laws, or for participating in an authorized investigation for any issues in the workplace, or for making a complaint about discrimination or harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or their own HR department.
2. Taking Leaves
An employer may not fire a worker for exercising their right to apply and take workers’ compensation leaves, take paid sick leaves, take time off to serve on a jury, take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or take any other protected time off from work in a legal manner.
3. Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
An employer may not penalize or fire a worker for filing a claim to get workers’ compensation benefits for a workplace injury.
4. Health and Safety Violations
An employer may not fire a worker for making a complaint for violations pertaining to workplace health and safety standards to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or to a concerned department within the company.
5. Wage and Working Hours
An employer may not fire a worker for making a complaint about failure to pay the minimum wage or overtime, illegally keep the rightful portion of commission, or deny legally required breaks to the Department of Labor or to a concerned department within the company.
Compensation for Retaliatory Discharge Claims
If you are successfully about to establish your claim for retaliation, you will be able to recover several damages, including:
Back pay, such as wages and benefits for the period you were fired
Out of pocket losses, such as the cost of searching for work
Court costs and attorney’s fees
Reinstatement or front pay
Compensation for pain and suffering
It is essential for every employee to know about their rights and how they can protect themselves from adverse and unfair actions of employers. If you have faced retaliation, you should file a case against your employer and get back what’s rightfully yours. Talk to an experienced Roselle retaliatory discharge attorney to discuss your case and evaluate your legal options. Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith today for a consultation.