26 Jan, 2022

Employer Retaliation Lawsuit: The What & How

Author Todd A. Strong

It is illegal for employers to fire workers in retaliation for filing a work injury claim. An employee may recover damages from the company if he or she can prove the employer fired him or her for filing a workers comp claim.

Claim form for an injury at work
Claim form for an injury at work

What Is Retaliatory Discharge?

In Illinois, it is illegal for an employer to take revenge on a worker for filing a workers' comp claim. The employer may not threaten or harass the worker, discriminate against the worker, or refuse to rehire. They certainly cannot fire the employee. There are laws in place to stop employers from discouraging legitimate workers' comp claims.  

Can you sue your employer for retaliation?

Yes! If a worker successfully sues his or her employer, he or she can recover:

  • Back Pay
  • Future Lost Wages
  • Compensation for Mental Anguish
  • Attorney's Fees
  • Punitive Damages
Graphic showing what can be recovered in a retaliatory discharge case.

Unlike a traditional worker's compensation claim, there is no limit to the amount a worker can recover in a retaliatory discharge case. However, filing a lawsuit against an employer is not a golden ticket. Workers can only recover for damages that they have suffered as a result of the retaliatory discharge.

Sometimes, in egregious cases, a court or jury may decide that they also need to punish a company, discouraging them from similar actions in the future. In those cases, the company will have to pay punitive damages above the actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. 

Why you need an employer retaliation attorney

Workers have to prove that they were harassed or fired as a direct result of their workers' comp claim to win a retaliatory discharge case. A worker can take steps before being fired that make proving retaliatory discharge easier.

First, he or she should file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Industrial Commission. Once the employee files, the employer cannot claim a lack of awareness about the workers' comp claim when it fired the employee.

The employee can keep a record of events and conversations leading up to termination. Further, he or she should keep a record of all written communication received from the employer. Finally, the employee can contact a workers comp attorney to help navigate the process of seeking damages from the former employer for retaliatory discharge.  

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About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.
Are you looking to sue your employer for retaliation? Hire experienced employer retaliation lawyers at Strong Law Offices. Consultations are free.
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