Am I Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?
In Illinois, 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 entitled to medical care for their injury so long as the employee makes a claim. The statute requires most employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to pay for work-related injuries that may occur and, thus, almost every employee in Illinois is covered by workers’ compensation from the moment they begin working.
Importantly, the Illinois workers’ compensation statute is a no-fault system, meaning the injured party does not have to prove the employer was negligent or at fault prior to becoming entitled to compensation. Employees who are uncomfortable about filing a workers’ compensation claim with their employer may take comfort in the fact that workers’ compensation claims benefit both the employer and the employee. That is, when an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, he agrees not to file a lawsuit against their employer for their work injury in return for receiving compensation benefits. In fact, employers are not harmed because it is not the employer who pays the expense, but the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Illinois has its own version of a whistleblower law. Under the Illinois Whistleblower Act, certain types of retaliation are prohibited. The law provides that:
- “(a) An employer may not retaliate against an employee who discloses information in a court, an administrative hearing, or before a legislative commission or committee, or in any other proceeding, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of a State or federal law, rule, or regulation.
- (b) An employer may not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of a State or federal law, rule, or regulation.”
The Illinois Whistleblower Act allows for damages against an employer who violates the Act.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
The NLRB is a federal agency that safeguards employees’ rights to organize and form unions. This agency also actively fights to rid the country of unfair labor practices.
This organization also:
- Investigates Labor Charges: If you believe your rights to a fair place of employment have been violated, you can file a charge with the NLRB.
- Determines Cases: When you file a complaint, the NLRB conducts a hearing to discover what happened and resolve the issue.
- Enforces Orders: The Circuit Court will review the board’s orders and determine whether to legally enforce their orders.
- Encourages Settlements: The NLRB prefers parties to resolve their issues through a settlement as opposed to litigation. For example, more than 90% of cases heard are resolved through a board settlement or private agreement.
If you have a labor related dispute with an employer, consider visiting the web site for the NLRB which is available here. If the NLRB finds that your labor claim has merit, it may issue a formal complaint against your employer for an unfair labor practice. It is also illegal for an employer to terminate a non-management employee for engaging in activities designed to benefit fellow workers. The NLRB also enforces these types of claims.
Our Naperville employment dispute attorneys have extensive experience presenting cases to the NLRB and can help you toward a positive resolution to your case.
Feel free to call our Naperville attorneys at (630) 364-4061 if you have questions about a whistleblower matter.