ILLINOIS WHISTLEBLOWER ACT, 740 ILCS 174/1, et seq.
Brian J. Graber, Ltd., represents employees retaliated against by their employer in violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act. The Illinois Whistleblower Act (IWA) 740 ILCS 174/1, et seq., provides far greater protection for employees who engage in certain protected activities than the tort of retaliatory discharge. As a result, the IWA covers terminations and any retaliation short of actual termination. Therefore, constructive discharges are covered. IWA claims used in combination with the tort of retaliatory discharge can maximize damages.
The IWA applies to any private employer employing one or more employees in Illinois. The term “employer” broadly defined to include municipalities, villages, townships, counties, school districts, and Illinois colleges or universities.
The Illinois Whistleblower Act (IWA) imposes liability on any employer retaliating against any employee engaging in any of the following specific protected activities:
- Disclosing information in a court, an administrative hearing, or before a legislative commission or committee, or in any proceeding, where the employee has a reasonable belief the information discloses a violation of a State or federal law, rule, or regulation;
- Disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, where the employee has a reasonable belief that the information discloses a violation of a State or Federal law, rule, or regulation; or
- Refusing to participate in an activity that would result in violation of a State or federal law, rule, or regulation, including, but not limited to violations of the Freedom of Information Act.
The three specific protected activities have broad applications. The Illinois Whistleblower Act (IWA) can cover many different wrongful termination scenarios. For example, the IWA protects bartenders from retaliation for refusing to sell alcoholic beverages to intoxicated customers in violation of Illinois law. The IWA protects employees from retaliation for reporting workplace violence to the police. The IWA protects employees who report shoplifting to the police. The IWA can protect food service employees who report “adulterated” food to public health agencies. The IWA may provide employees with coronavirus anti-retaliation protections. The applications of IWA are limitless.
A public employee or law enforcement employee who discloses of a violation of State or Federal law, rule, or regulation to management in a government or law enforcement agency is protected activity for the purposes of the IWA. However, merely informing a wrongdoer who is a supervisor that his or her actions are improper is not protected activity under the IWA. This is because informing the wrongdoer does not expose or make known the alleged improper activity to governmental or law enforcement management employees with the ability to put a stop to the alleged improper conduct.
The Illinois Whistleblower Act (IWA) requires proof an employer retaliated against the employee because of his or her protected activity. The IWA provides broader remedies then the Illinois common law tort of retaliatory discharge. These broader remedies include reinstatement.
Brian J. Graber, Ltd., is a Chicago Illinois Whistleblower Act lawyer practicing Illinois whistleblower law and wrongful termination in the Chicagoland area. If you believe you suffered retaliation for engaging in any of the protected activities under the Illinois Whistleblower Act, contact Brian J. Graber, Ltd., at (312) 291-4648 for a free consultation.