Exposing an employer who does not take the safety of his/her employees seriously or is involved in fraudulent business practices is your right as an employee. However, some employers can retaliate by terminating the employment of the whistleblower. Aptly named the Whistleblower Act, this Illinois law protects employees by making termination on the basis of whistleblowing illegal in the state.
How the Whistleblower Act Protects Employees in Illinois
According to the Act, employers cannot retaliate against employees who:
Reveal information to law enforcement agencies and the government if they have cause to believe said information violates state laws, rules, and regulations.
Take part in investigations of illegal activity or refuse to take part in a venture that can violate state laws, rules, and regulations.
However, employees are not protected under this law if they have reasonable cause to believe they are correct about the information they are disclosing. Before doing so, they should determine whether the activities or issues they mean to disclose can be interpreted as violations or not.
What Employers Cannot do
According to the Whistleblower Act, employers cannot retaliate against a whistle-blowing employee by terminating their employment. Additionally, they cannot make the employee’s life difficult at work to force them to leave on their own accord during the investigation. Employers also cannot threaten employees or retaliate against them if they refuse to take part in activities that can violate state laws.
If the employee has been threatened or fired in lieu of the complaint, they can seek damages from their employer. This includes:
Back pay for lost wages, including interest.
Reinstatement to the job they had before they were fired by the retaliating employer.
Compensation for damages such as attorney and litigation costs.
It is important to note that the Act cannot be used to ask for punitive damages. The lawsuit for retaliatory discharge can be filed in court within five (5) years of the action. If you think you have the right to do so, get in touch with attorneys at the Law Office of Michael T. Smith today.
We have been fighting for the rights of employees in Schaumburg, IL, for more than 30 years and can help you get the compensation you deserve. This includes facing intimidating business owners without giving an inch. That is how dedicated we are in ensuring you get the justice you rightly deserve. Get in touch with us for a consultation today.