Retaliatory discharge of an employee without legitimate grounds to dismiss is a form of wrongful termination. An employer may act in retaliatory discharge due to revenge when an employee refuses to carry out a task that is either illegal or may go against general norms of the workplace. According to the Illinois Workers Compensation Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act, it is unlawful for an employer to engage in retaliatory discharge if an employee is exercising their legal rights. Retaliatory discharge is unlawful when an employee commits to following:
· Employee refusing to follow orders leading to a criminal offense or discrimination,
· Employees joining union activities,
· Employees seeking workers compensation,
· Employee testifying to seek worker compensation on behalf of others,
· Employees acting as whistleblowers.
If an employee acts as a whistleblower, they receive special protection under the Illinois Whistleblower Act. Although the employee’s suspicion does not need to be true, it is still important to disclose all suspected violations to government agencies. Employers are also prohibited from adopting policies that threaten employees from engaging in whistleblowing activities. An employee cannot discharge an employee for cooperating with a government agency or testify in a proceeding under Illinois’ Safety Inspection and Education Act.
Filling a Retaliatory Discharge Claims
An employee can officially seek an inquiry by filing a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and with the U.S. Department of Labor within 30 days of illegal retaliation. An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for participating in an EEOC claim. However, retaliation due to legitimate poor performance, criminal offense, or holding toxic or illegal substances at work provides no protection. An employee can consult a competent Employment Law Attorney to manage claims and proceedings, or file lawsuit against an employer for compensation, damages or rehire.
Proving a Retaliatory Discharge Claims
An employee will be required to provide written, circumstantial and direct evidence proving:
· An unlawful termination or discrimination happened,
· An employee engaged in a protected activity or inquiry,
· Ability to establish an unlawful punishment happened,
If all claims against an employer hold true, an employer can be asked to pay basic pay, worker compensation, future wages as punitive damages and any legal attorney fees.
If you want to know more about retaliatory discharge and proving your claims, make sure to schedule a free consultation by contacting the Law Office of Michael Smith to talk with an experienced employment lawyer.