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What You Need to Know About Retaliatory Discharge in Illinois

Oct. 13, 2020

Illinois does not have clear cut laws when it comes to suing former employers for retaliatory discharge. Just because an employer has been unfair in firing an employee does not necessarily mean the employee is entitled to compensation.

In Illinois, retaliatory discharge is a common law tort, meaning it is not found in any statute. To prove a case, the offending employee must prove three (3) elements:

  1. That the discharge was retaliatory for certain actions he/she took.

  2. That the discharge violates public and company policy.

If successful, a retaliatory discharge claim can help you recover several damages which include:

  • Future wages

  • Punitive damages

  • Back pay

  • Attorney charges

  • Mental and emotional distress

How Employers Can Retaliate

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibits employers from punishing both employees and job applicants for asserting their rights when it comes to discrimination. Some of the activities that constitute retaliation according to the EEOC include employers who:

  • Reprimand employees without reason

  • Engage in physical and verbal abuse

  • Makes work difficult for the employee

  • Threatens the employee with termination or fires him/her

  • Increases scrutiny on the employee

  • Shifts the employee to a less desirable position in the company

In most cases, employers are not obliged to provide their reasoning behind terminations or any of the above actions. However, if they are accused of retaliatory discharge later, they must prove the termination was not their way of exacting revenge. This includes providing proof the employee was performing poorly, were behaving badly in the workplace or were fired because of reasons that went beyond protected actions.

While the Illinois Whistle Blower Act protects employees who reveal illegal employer conduct to government officials, you will need an attorney to fight a retaliatory discharge claim. These professionals are more than well versed in both federal and state laws and will guide you through the process so you are well aware of your rights. This includes ensuring your case gets a favorable outcome.

If you are looking for such attorneys, get in touch with us at the Law Offices of Michael Smith today. We have years of experience aiding clients such as yourself, who have been discharged from jobs unfairly or as an act of retaliation. Get in touch with us for a consultation today in Schaumburg, IL.