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How To Prove Retaliatory Discharge In Illinois?

March 29, 2023

Man pointing to paper with You're Fired on itIllinois is an at-will employment state, meaning that your company can fire you for no reason at any time. However, there are exceptions. For example, an employer cannot fire you for illegal reasons, including as retaliation for engaging in a protected activity. If you think you were wrongfully terminated, talk to our Chicago retaliatory discharge attorney at Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates now.

What Is Retaliatory Discharge In Illinois?

Retaliatory discharge is an exception to Illinois’ at-will employment policy. If you want to show your company retaliated against you, the following must be proven:

  • You worked at the company and were fired.

  • The termination happened because you engaged in a protected activity.

  • The termination violated a clear mandate of public policy.

Most often, employees succeed with a retaliatory discharge if they were terminated because they complained that their company was engaging in illegal conduct. Also, a retaliatory discharge can happen if the company fires you if you would not involved in unlawful behavior.

Suppose your employer terminated you because you would not offer false testimony in court. Or, the company fired you because you complained to the state government about them abusing the Clean Water Act or Clean Air Act.

Examples of Employer Retaliation

Your employer may retaliate by firing you. But there are other types of retaliation, according to the US Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC):

  • Verbally or physically abuse you

  • Make work difficult for you

  • Threaten you with being fired

  • Have more supervision of you than other employees in a similar position

  • Put you into a less desirable role with lower pay

More About Proving Retaliatory Discharge

Your wrongful termination attorney will need to prove the following to win your case:

You Were Engaged In A Protected Activity

Your lawyer must prove you were engaged in the activity that got you fired. For example, your employer may write an email or memo to other workers that you were fired for specific protected behavior.

However, you must often collect circumstantial evidence to prove a retaliatory discharge claim. For example, your attorney may take depositions from employees who can detail how others were wrongfully fired. Of course, direct evidence is better, but that is only sometimes possible.

You Were Terminated For Not Taking A Discriminatory Action

If you think you were fired because you would not take a discriminatory action, you must show that you thought it was discriminatory and would not act because of it.

The employer is usually not required to provide a reason for terminating you. But if you complain it was a retaliatory termination, they may need to show in court that the firing was unrelated to protected behaviors. For example, they may point out that you have a subpar yearly review or were often late to work.

Talk To Our Chicago Retaliatory Discharge Attorney Now

Do you suspect your employer fired you to retaliate against you? This is illegal under Illinois state law, and you could be entitled to damages. Contact our Chicago retaliatory discharge attorney today at Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates at (847) 466-1099. Our attorneys have years of experience helping wrongfully fired clients, and we can help you.