Being injured at work can be scary, traumatic, and stressful. The good news is that workers’ compensation exists to help workers recover benefits that help pay for their medical expenses and lost wages that resulted from the injury. One of the most common concerns we hear from injured workers is whether they will be terminated for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Below, we discuss laws in Illinois that protect workers from retaliation due to a work injury and how our team can help ensure that your rights are thoroughly protected.
Retaliation Laws That Protect Illinois Workers
So, can you be terminated for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois? In short, the answer is no. In the state, it is illegal for employers to fire workers just for filing a workers’ comp claim due to a work-related injury or occupational disease. This is known as retaliation and is unlawful according to the Illinois Workers Compensation Act (IWCA).
If you believe that you were fired for filing a claim, you may even be able to sue your employer due to a retaliatory discharge. This is a separate type of lawsuit that your workers’ compensation claim and would be filed in civil court. Other types of retaliation that you may encounter include being given a less desirable shift, being demoted, or being verbally abused.
Proving Retaliation vs. At-Will Employment
Because Illinois follows an at-will employment law, employers are generally able to fire an employee for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all—unless the reason is protected. This can make proving retaliation tricky, as your employer may claim that their true motivation for firing you was not due to your work injury, but because of some reason, such as:
- Poor work performance
- Being late
- Bad attitude
- Your work is no longer needed
Making an official report of your work injury as soon as it occurs is extremely important. If you wait a period of time without taking the steps to report it, you may make yourself vulnerable to being fired without protection. For instance, if you only tell a coworker about the injury and they tell your employer, your employer may then fire you while also claiming that they did not know about your work injury yet.
How Leonard Law Group Can Help You
No worker in Illinois should have to worry about being fired because they were injured on the job. However, it's an unfortunate reality that getting injured on the job does not necessarily mean that your job will be protected. If you have been injured on the job in Chicago or the surrounding areas, you should not hesitate to contact a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney.
At Leonard Law Group, our relationships with our clients are built on trust and respect. On top of that, we pride ourselves on providing diamonde excellent service to each client that comes to us for help. Our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys have recovered more than $500,000,000 for more than 10,000 clients, and we will work hard to help you recover, too.
Contact our firm at (312) 487-2513 to get started with a free consultation today. You can also fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.