Public employees (those employed by municipal governments and those employed by the State of Illinois) have some broader claims against their governmental employers to protect their employment rights. However, there are several limitations on these claims because the government is the employer. In some cases the time frames for filing claims against a government employer may be shorter than the timeframe for filing against a private employer. If you would like to learn more about your employment rights as a public employee contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free consultation.
ELEVENTH AMENDMENT IMMUNITY:
The Eleventh Amendment may bar federal court suits against a state by its employees. Illinois codified its Eleventh Amendment Immunity in 745 ILCS 5/1 which prevents the State of Illinois from being a defendant or party in any court and generally limits aggrieved parties to seek remedies before the Illinois Court of Claims. Any employee of the State of Illinois seeking vindication of his/her rights generally (there are certain exceptions) must seek redress in the Illinois Court of Claims unless the State of Illinois has waived its Eleventh Amendment Immunity. Under 745 ILCS 5/1.5 the State of Illinois has expressly waived its Eleventh Amendment Immunity for claims State of Illinois employees may have under Title VII, ADA, FMLA, FLSA, and the ADEA.
The Whistleblower Act protects public employees. The Whistleblower Act at 740 ILCS 174/5 defines “employer” to include political subdivisions of the State of Illinois; a unit of local government; a school district; combinations of school districts; community college districts; and also allows claims to be brought against the public official, individually, for violations of the Act.
The Whistleblower Act imposes liability on public employers in the following instances:
1. Retaliation against a public employee who discloses information in court, an administrative hearing, or before a legislative commission or committee, or in any other proceeding where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of Illinois or federal law, rule or regulation.
2. Retaliation against an public employee for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, when the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the info discloses a violation of an Illinois or federal law, rule, or regulation.
3. Retaliation against a public employee for refusing to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of an Illinois or federal law, rule, regulation, including but not limited to a violation of the Freedom of Information Act.
If you would like to learn more about your employment rights as a public employee under the Whistleblower Act, contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648.
STATE OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEE ETHICS ACT-WHISTLEBLOWER PROVISIONS
The State Officials and Employee Ethics Act – Whistleblower provisions protect employees employed by the State of Illinois from “retaliatory action” such as reprisals, termination, suspension, demotion, denial of promotion or transfer, or change in the terms or conditions of employment that was taken against the State employee engaging in any of the following whistle-blowing activities:
1. Disclosing or threatening to disclose to a supervisor or to a public body an activity, policy, or practice of any officer, member, State agency, or other State employee that the State employee reasonably believes is a violation of a law, rule, or regulation.
2. Provides information to or testifies before a public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry into any violation of law, rule, or regulation by any officer, member, State agency, or other State employee.
3. Assists or participates in a proceeding to enforce the provisions of this Act.
If you would like to learn more about your rights under the State Officials and Employee Ethics Act – Whistleblower Provisions, contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free consultation.
1ST AMENDMENT RETALIATION:
A public employees have 1st Amendment protections against their government employers. If you are a public employee who was disciplined, terminated, or otherwise retaliated against by your government employer because of your protected speech, whistle-blowing, political association, or due to political patronage, your 1st Amendment rights may have been violated. If you would like to learn more about your 1st Amendment rights as a public employee, contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648.
CONSTITUTIONAL CLAIMS AGAINST PUBLIC EMPLOYERS UNDER 42 U.S.C. 1983
A public employer may have liability for violating a public employee’s equal protection and due process rights. If you would like to learn more about your equal protection and due process rights as a public employee, contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648.