If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness in Chicago, there is a good chance that you are entitled to workers’ compensation. Illinois law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and most employees are eligible for benefits under their employers’ policies.
As a covered employee in Illinois, you have the legal right to claim workers’ compensation. Since this is your legal right, your employer cannot fire you for filing a claim.
What if a Co-Worker Lost Her Job After Filing for Workers’ Compensation?
If you know someone who lost her job after filing for workers’ compensation, this could mean one of two things. Either (i) your employer terminated her improperly, or (ii) she was lawfully terminated for reasons unrelated to her claim for benefits.
Under no circumstances can an employer terminate an employee because he or she filed for workers’ compensation benefits. This is considered retaliation, and it is illegal under Illinois and federal law. Retaliating against an employee who files for workers’ compensation is a very serious matter, and it can subject employers to liability above and beyond payment of workers’ compensation.
However, filing for workers’ compensation does not protect employees from termination for unrelated reasons. If your coworker was terminated for cause or as part of a reduction in force, her termination may have been lawful.
Can I Be Demoted or Have My Hours Cut if I File for Workers’ Compensation?
No, these are illegal forms of retaliation as well. If you experience any adverse employment action (i.e. termination, demotion, loss of hours or reduction in pay) due to filing for workers’ compensation, this is a violation of your legal rights. But, the same caveat we discussed regarding termination applies here as well: If your employer’s decision is unrelated to your claim for benefits, then it does not constitute unlawful retaliation.
What Should I Do if I Believe I Have Experienced Unlawful Retaliation?
If you were fired, demoted or experienced any other form of adverse employment action after filing for workers’ compensation in Chicago, you should speak with an attorney about your legal rights. In most cases, it will not be clear if you have a retaliation claim right away, and you will need an attorney to review your case and determine if your employer’s conduct was unlawful. Your initial consultation should be free and confidential, so there is no downside to learning about your legal rights.
If I Was Fired Improperly, Can I Get My Old Job Back?
Maybe. If you have experienced a wrongful termination, you will need to make an informed decision about the best remedy (or remedies) to pursue. You will need to decide on the best way to pursue your case as well. Should you seek reinstatement or damages (or both)? Should you attempt to negotiate a confidential settlement or take your employer to court? These are difficult questions that you will want to answer with the help of an experienced attorney.
Schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation
If you have questions about filing for workers’ compensation or pursuing a case for retaliation, we encourage you to contact us for a free and confidential consultation. To speak with an attorney at our law offices in Chicago, please call (312) 795-9595 or tell us about your situation online today.