The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act specifically prohibits firing an employee because he or she filed a claim for benefits. And yet, it often happens, as some employers seek ways to cut costs at the expense of employees who have been injured.
The law gives the dismissed worker the right to sue for wrongful termination for the retaliatory discharge. Potential damages include back pay, future lost wages and mental anguish. Attorney's fees may also be awarded, along with punitive damages when the conduct of the employer is found to be egregious violation of the state's Workers' Compensation law.
A St Clair County worker has filed suit there for wrongful termination from his moving company job. He claims he injured his back on the job in January, notified his employer and filed a Workers' Compensation claim for benefits on February 15. The lawsuit alleges he was fired two weeks later solely because he had filed a workers' compensation claim. His request for relief included lost wages and benefits, damage to his reputation and mental anguish. Compensatory damages are said total up to $75,000, with the same amount sought for punitive damages.
It is difficult enough to suffer a workplace injury. On top of that, the process of notification and filing a claim is daunting to some, especially at a time when they are dealing primarily with the injury that is keeping them out of work. An Illinois attorney who devotes his practice to helping injured workers obtain the benefits they deserve and hold employers accountable for wrongful conduct, may help level the playing field and fight for a just resolution.
Source: Madison Record, "Dodge Moving worker claims he was fired after comp claim," Andrea Dearden, Sept. 8, 2011