Many state and federal laws are intended to regulate businesses and places of employment, in order to promote consumer and employee safety. However, certain employers nonetheless violate these laws, and it is only because courageous employees expose this activity that this conduct is brought to light. These Good Samaritan employees who decide to “blow the whistle” on their employers take great risks in coming forward. Illinois law protects employee whistleblowers when they reasonably believe that their employers are violating a state or federal law, and has enacted the Illinois Whistleblower Act (“IWA”), 740 ILCS 174/ to afford certain protections to whistle-blowing employees.
The most important purpose behind the IWA is to protect whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers. The IWA recognizes that whistleblowers often have a target on their backs once the employers find out that the employee has complained to the government or a state agency about the employer’s illegal conduct. Employers often retaliate against whistleblowers by, for example, cutting the employee’s hours, issuing written disciplinary notices, assigning more difficult or less desirable job assignments, or terminating the employee. Such retaliation in response to an employee’s whistleblowing activities is strictly prohibited by the IWA and the employee may have a viable whistleblower case against his or her employer.
If you are or have been retaliated against by your employer for “blowing the whistle” about your employer’s wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to damages under the Illinois Whistleblower Act. Please contact our office at 312-357-1431 for a free consultation.