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Is There a Limit on Retaliatory Discharge Settlements?

Sept. 27, 2023

Being fired for any reason is unpleasant and may seem unfair. But if you are fired for engaging in activities protected by the law, discharging you is illegal. Learn more about retaliatory discharge settlements in this article, and if you have questions, speak to our Aurora retaliatory discharge lawyer now.

Retaliatory Discharge Lawsuit Overview

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act states that it is unlawful for an employer to coerce, discriminate against, refuse to recall or rehire, harass, fire, or threaten to hire a worker in retaliation for filing for workers’ compensation. If your employer fires you or forces you to resign, you could be eligible to file a retaliatory discharge lawsuit. You could receive some or all of these monetary damages:

  • Back pay

  • Future lost earnings

  • Attorney’s fees

  • Mental anguish

  • Punitive damages

Unlike a workers’ compensation award, there is no limit on how much money you can receive in a retaliatory discharge settlement. Your attorney will review your case and damages and attempt to get you the highest amount possible. For instance, a 2016 retaliatory discharge case resulted in a $2 million award that the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed. The case was Crowley v. Watson, et al., 2016 IL App (1st) 142847 (3/2/2016).

How to Prove Retaliatory Discharge in Illinois

In this state, retaliatory discharge is a common-law tort. This means it is not in any statute. To prove your retaliatory discharge case, you must prove these elements:

  • That the discharge was in retaliation for specific actions you took.

  • That the discharge violates company and public policy.

How Can an Employer Retaliate Against You?

The US Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does not allow employers to punish employees and job applicants for asserting certain rights related to discrimination. Some activities that are retaliation in the eyes of the EEOC are:

  • Reprimand employees for no reason

  • Engage in verbal or physical abuse

  • Makes work hard for you

  • Threatens you with termination and then fires you

  • Increases scrutiny on you for no reason

  • Moves you to a less desirable role in the company

Usually, an employer does not need to provide reasoning for firing you. But if they are accused of retaliatory discharge, they must prove that firing you was not retaliation. For example, they could prove that you had poor work performance, misbehaved, or were let go for non-protected reasons.

The Illinois Whistleblower Act protects employees who expose illicit employer conduct to government officials, you have to hire an attorney for a retaliatory discharge claim. Your attorney is well-versed in state and federal laws in this area and will help you protect your rights.

Contact Our Aurora Retaliatory Discharge Lawyer Today

Do you suspect that you were a victim of retaliatory discharge? This is not just unfair: It is illegal. But with the help of a skilled employment lawyer, you could receive compensation for your losses. Our Aurora retaliatory discharge lawyer at Law Office of Michael Smith can help, so please call (847) 466-1099 for more information. We have years of experience in retaliatory discharge cases and will fight for the most favorable outcome.