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How Do I Prove Retaliatory Discharge In Illinois?

Feb. 9, 2023

You're fired written on a post it noteIllinois has an at-will employment policy, meaning you can be fired without cause. However, this is different than a company firing you for a reason that is illegal under state or federal law. The state and federal governments ban employers from firing people for unlawful reasons, including age, race, religion, gender identity, national origin, or disability.

You also are protected from being fired for retaliatory discharge. However, if you believe you are a victim of retaliatory discharge or wrongful termination, the Law Office of Michael Smith may assist you.

What Is Retaliatory Discharge In Illinois?

Retaliatory discharge is one exception to at-will employment rules. For you to prove there was a retaliatory discharge, you must show you were fired and that the termination was because you were engaged in a ‘protected activity.’ Also, the termination must have violated a mandated public policy, such as in the state or federal constitution.

You might have a valid claim for retaliatory discharge if you were fired for complaining that your company was doing something illegal. Also, you could file a retaliatory discharge claim if you are fired for refusing to do something illegal on the job.

For instance, there could be a retaliatory discharge lawsuit if you were fired for not providing false testimony in court. There also could be a claim when the company fires you because you complained about them violating laws, such as the Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act.

How Do You Prove Retaliatory Discharge?

You must prove one of these to have a retaliatory discharge case:

  • You were engaged in a protected activity, and your firing was related to that activity. There might be direct written evidence that you were terminated because of your actions. Or you may prove the case by providing circumstantial evidence that the company engaged in discriminatory behavior. However, direct evidence carries more weight in a retaliatory discharge case.

  •  You were fired because you would not engage in discriminatory action. If you think you were fired because of this, you need to prove that you thought the act was discriminatory and that you would not act because of this fact.

As noted earlier, in many cases, a company is not required to offer a reason for your being fired in Illinois. However, if the company is accused of retaliatory discharge, it may need to show that the firing did not stem from protected behavior. For example, they might point out your poor performance at work or how your attitude negatively affected the workplace. In this situation, you must talk to a wrongful termination attorney today.  

Speak To A Chicago Wrongful Termination Attorney

Do you think you were fired for being a member of a protected class, such as gender identity, race, sex, or age? Or, were you a victim of retaliatory discharge? You may be able to file a state or federal wrongful termination claim. Please contact the Law Office Of Michael T. Smith & Associates at (847) 466-1099 for a consultation about your wrongful termination or retaliatory discharge case.