Whistleblower Lawyers in Naperville

Illinois employees have several laws to protect them if they are whistleblowers. In fact, Illinois’ own Honest Abe (Abraham Lincoln) passed a whistleblower type law because of dishonest Civil War suppliers who put sawdust in the gunpowder and then sold it to the Union Army. In Illinois, whistleblowers are protected by both federal and state, and local laws. So, while no one likes to be a whistleblower, Illinois is a good place to be one.

What Is a Whistleblower in Illinois?

If you blow the whistle (i.e., exposed employer’s wrongdoing or have knowledge of your company cheating the government or insurance companies), you may be entitled to money as a whistleblower. Examples of claims include improper billing, charging the government for services that were not provided, or misrepresenting things to the government to get money.

Sometimes referred to as “false claims” lawsuits, or qui tam claims, these claims allow a whistleblower to recover money if his or her employer is getting money unfairly. An example of false claims is Medicare fraud. Sometimes employers will bill Medicare or Medicaid or insurance companies for services that were not performed or that were unnecessary. This is illegal.

Specific types of whistleblowers include:

  • IRS Whistleblowers: If you have information that a taxpayer is cheating the government, you might be entitled to a portion of any recovery by the IRS. There are specific ways you must report a tax fraud to the IRS.
  • SEC Whistleblowers: The SEC has a whistleblower program for certain financial frauds.
  • Medicare Whistleblowers and Healthcare Fraud: Medical practices sometimes get into trouble for up-coding, paying incentives for referrals, and not following CMS rules. Under the False Claims Act, a whistleblower can recover between 15 and 30 percent of the government’s recovery.
  • Illinois Whistleblowers: While many whistleblower claims are brought under federal law, Illinois has its own set of laws to protect whistleblowers. It also has a unique law that allows a recovery for insurance fraud.

For information unique to your situation, contact us at (630) 364-4061 or by completing our online form.

Can My Employer Fire Me after I Filed for Workers’ Compensation?

It is illegal to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois. Our Naperville lawyers can also assist if you have a workers compensation claim and were retaliated against for your work injury. Injured workers in Illinois often have legal rights. Depending on the nature of the injury, it may be illegal for an employer to retaliate or terminate an injured worker or someone who files for workers compensation.

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.

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