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Retaliatory Discharge

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Illinois retaliatory discharge, Crystal Lake Workers' Compensation LawyerIn workers' compensation cases, there are employers who sometimes decide to discourage employees from filing for the benefits afforded to them under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. Demoting employees or threatening to fire those who file a claim for benefits are some of the tactics these unscrupulous employers may use. An injured employee who finds himself in this situation should know that there may be legal assistance available to ensure he or she receives both the workers' compensation benefits as well as additional compensation for the employer's actions.

Firing an employee because he or she filed for workers' compensation is called retaliation. The Workers' Compensation Act considers this retaliation unlawful, and Illinois courts have recognized an employee's right to seek compensation for an employer's retaliation. This right is in addition to any other fines that may be levied against the employer by governmental agencies for the same conduct. The rights are provided to employees because retaliatory discharge is considered to be against public policy.

An employer may try to pressure an employee into quitting by refusing to modify the employee's duties to accommodate his or her injuries, or may fail to pay any temporary workers' compensation benefits. The employer may even reassign the employee to a less desirable position or require him or her to reapply for a position. These actions aimed at forcing the employee to resign instead of be discharged could be just as unlawful as retaliatory discharge. If a jury analyzes the employer's conduct and decides that it was particularly aimed at making the employee's situation so bad that the employee would quit or fail to file for workers' compensation benefits, it may award punitive damages against the employer.

A dispute between the employee's and employer's doctors as to the degree of an employee's injuries should also be resolved before an employer fires the employee for failing to return to work. If the employee's doctor says the employee still has to complete treatment, the employer can seek clarification on the matter before firing the employee. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission can resolve these conflicts.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to prove retaliatory discharge. If the employer can provide a credible reason, other than the retaliatory one alleged, for having fired the employee the employer may be able to defeat the employee's claim. This should not discourage an employee from filing a claim, and the employee should assess his or her options after consultation with a workers' compensation attorney.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

If you were injured in a workplace accident, you deserve to receive the workers' compensation benefits to which you are entitled. If you are an injured employee, contact the experienced Crystal Lake workers' compensation attorneys at our law firm for a consultation.




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