Retaliatory Discharge is a common law tort for damages against an employer that fires an employee for refusing to commit an unlawful act or for performing some act that is protected by statute or public policy. The tort of Retaliatory Discharge is a big exception of the “employment-at-will” doctrine. A terminated employee may have a cause of action against his or her employer if the following elements are present:
- The Employer terminated the Employee;
- In retaliation for the employee’s activities;
- and the termination violates a clear mandate of public policy.
There is no claim under the tort of Retaliatory Discharge for claims of retaliation short of actual termination of employment. The termination must also be because the employee engaged in “protected conduct.” The termination for engaging in protected conduct must violate a clear mandate of public policy. There is no precise definition of the term “clearly mandated public policy.” Generally, public policy concerns what is right and just and what affects the citizens of Illinois collectively.
RETALIATORY DISCHARGE FOR SEEKING WORKER’S COMPENSATION BENEFITS
An employer cannot fire an employee for seeking benefits under the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act. An employer may be liable under the tort of retaliatory discharge for terminating an employee for seeking worker’s compensation benefits for a work related injury. If you were fired for seeking worker’s compensation benefits for a work related injury you may have a claim for retaliatory discharge against your employer. Contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free consultation.
RETALIATORY DISCHARGE – REPORTING CRIMINAL ACTIVITY OR VIOLATIONS OF THE LAW
An employer cannot fire an employee who reports what he or she reasonably believes is criminal activity of a co-worker or supervisor to management or law enforcement or governmental regulators. An employer cannot terminate an employee who refuses an employer’s demand to violate the law. You may have a claim for the tort of retaliatory discharge if you were fired because you made internal reports to management or external reports to law enforcement or government regulators about a co-worker’s or supervisor’s violation of the law. You may also have a claim for the tort of retaliatory discharge for refusing your employer’s demand to engage in activity that violates the law. If you believe that you were fired in retaliation for engaging in protected activity, contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., for a free consultation at (312) 291-4648.
The Courts have allowed terminated employees to bring claims for retaliatory discharge against their employers in the circumstances:
- Reporting the employer’s, supervisor’s or co-worker’s violation of the law to management, law enforcement, or government regulators.
- Reporting an employer’s sales of food that was past the date of use in violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
- Reporting Medicare fraud by a healthcare provider.
- Reporting an employer’s OSHA safety violations to management or government regulators.
- Reporting health code violations to employer and/or government regulators.
- Reporting abuse or neglect of nursing home residents to employer and/or the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- Reporting incidents of child abuse to employer and/or law enforcement.
- Reporting incidents of elder abuse to an employer and/or law enforcement.
- Reporting violations of the Nursing Home Care Act to an employer and/or the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- Reporting violations of the regulations pertaining to proper food storage to an employer and/or governmental regulators.
- Refusing to falsify a federal tax record for an employer.
- Attending court when subpoenaed.
- Refusing to commit perjury and testify falsely for an employer’s benefit.
- Participating in jury duty.
There are many Federal statutes, Illinois statutes, and public policy exceptions that may apply. If you believe that you were fired for engaging in protected activity or for refusing to help you employer violation the law, you may have a claim for retaliatory discharge. Contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free consultation.