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Can I be fired for filing a workers compensation claim?

We are frequently asked whether it is legal to be fired for filing for workers compensation claims. In Illinois, it is illegal to retaliate against an employee who files for workers compensation. In 2016, an injured worker received a jury verdict of $2.65 million against a well-known grocery store chain in a workers comp retaliation lawsuit. The employee alleged that the store fired him after unilaterally changing his absences from excused for injury to “no call, no show” after he filed for workmans compensation. The Workers’ Compensation statute is in place specifically to protect employees from work-related injuries. Under the statute, an employee who is injured at the workplace while performing work duties is often entitled to medical care and compensation for their injury so long as the employee makes a claim.

To provide a workers compensation retaliation claim, an injured employee often shows they were were fired in retaliation for engaging in legally protected conduct (i.e., filings for workers compensation benefits). The typical issue in workers compensation retaliation cases is whether the employer can prove that the employee was terminated for a legitimate reason other than the protected conduct.

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