Can I be Fired for Retaliatory Reasons?



I was fired after telling my employer that I had sued one of their clients. I was told that if I sued them they wouldn’t give me any work. About a week later I got a call telling me I made myself unavailable for work, and they wouldn’t use me. Is this retaliation due to my Injury and lawsuit?

–Shawn, Danville, IL


Retaliatory discharge is a claim recognized in Illinois. It permits an employee to sue the employer who wrongfully discharge him. There are many limitations on the claim. The right is a limited one. Employers are given wide discretion in Illinois to hire and fire for almost any reason. The courts in Illinois have held that terminating an employee because he or she filed a Workers Compensation claim is illegal and a lawsuit can be brought. In addition, termination due to race, color, sex, religion or being a whistle blower are all actionable (cases that can be filed).
The situation you cite here has never been ruled on by an Illinois Court. Therefore, the courts have not decided if this would constitute a retaliatory discharge claim. It certainly should. But, what should be and what is frequently constitute different things.