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Retaliatory Discharge in Illinois

Illinois is an at will employment state, meaning an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. There are many exceptions to this rule.  Illinois has laws in place that protects workers from being terminated for exercising the right to take workers compensation as a result of a work-related injury. It is unlawful to discharge an employee for exercising a right under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. To state a cause of action for retaliatory discharge under Illinois law, the employee must show: (a) his status as an employee of the defendant employer prior to the injury; (2) his exercise of a right protected by the Workers’ Compensation Act; and (3) his discharge was causally related to the filing of the workers’ compensation claim or other protected action.

In a retaliatory discharge case, an employer is not required to offer a reason for terminating the employee. While the burden to prove the case is always on the employee, if the employer can prove that the employee was fired for a different reason other than seeking workers’ compensation benefits, the employer will win.

If you believe you may have been fired due to exercising your workers compensation rights, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer. Often, employers will have a pretext for termination, and a thorough review of the facts and an investigation should be conducted to help an employee who has been fired.

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