All injured Illinois workers are entitled to benefits and legal protections under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Workers’ compensation insurance is a trade off between employers and employees, and as part of that bargain, it is important that injured employees get access to the full extent of their workers’ compensation rights. One extremely valuable right is the right to be free from retaliation and discrimination. An Illinois employer cannot remove, demote or take any other unfair action against an employee based solely on that employee’s workers’ compensation claim. Any type of retaliation is illegal. If you believe that you have been retaliated against by your employer, you need to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately
Workers’ Compensation and Retaliatory Discharge
One of the most common forms of illegal employer retaliation is known as retaliatory discharge. Protection from retaliatory discharge was first recognized by the Illinois Supreme Court in the 1978 case of Kelsay v. Motorola. The Illinois Court recognized that retaliation had become a serious problem. Under the law, workers had the right to fair compensation for on-the-job injuries, but they were being heavily discouraged from exercising that right by employers. Employers were simply firing workers who tried to get their benefits. Workers, who still needed that job, were often forced to forego their workers’ compensation claims for fear of getting retaliated against. The Illinois Supreme Court put a stop to that practice. If your employer retaliates against you, then you have a valid legal claim against that employer. Provig retaliatory discharge requires proving three separate elements:
- You suffered a work related injury as a valid employee;
- You exercised your workers’ compensation rights; and
- You were discharged, at least in part, because of the fact that you exercised your rights.
If those three factors are present in your case, then you need to speak to a workers’ compensation attorney now.
Employer Retaliation Can Take Other Forms Too
There are many other common forms of employer retaliation apart from discharge. You deserve to be treated fairly, and with respect, after an on-the-job injury. If any of the following have happened to you after you made a workers’ compensation claim, you may have a valid employer retaliation case:
- You were demoted;
- You were not promoted, and you believe filing for workers’ compensation was a factor;
- Your employer refused to rehire you if you were on a contract;
- You suddenly started receiving unfair negative performance reviews; or
- You had any other unfair negative action taken against you.
The bottom line is simple: you have the legal right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Along with the right to file, you are protected from retaliation based on the fact that you filed a claim. It is illegal for your employer to treat you differently merely because you exercised your valid workers’ compensation rights.
Contact An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Your employer has a legal obligation not to hold your injury against you. The physical injury is traumatizing enough, you should not be forced to worry about receiving unfair treatment from your employer in the future. If you have been retaliated against, or have faced any form of discrimination, due to the fact that you exercised your legal workers’ compensation rights, you need to speak to an attorney immediately. Your employer is breaking the law, and an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorney will protect you.