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Chicago Workplace Retaliation: Do You Know Your Rights?

Chicago workplace retaliation comes in many forms, threatening job security or employment opportunities and causing undue stress and worry.

The most common forms of workplace retaliation may include any unfair actions taken by your employer against you, including anything from demotions, reductions in pay or hours, to not hiring in the first place. If you have been the victim of workplace retaliation, you should know your legal rights.

Businessman embracing his pretty secretary at work, she looking at his hand

What is Workplace Retaliation and What are My Rights?

Workplace retaliation is unfair or inappropriate treatment of an employee based on a complaint, charge, or proceeding concerning workplace discrimination. In essence, if you feel you have experienced discrimination by an employer and you formally raise this issue with your manager, HR, or an outside organization, you cannot be penalized for doing so. Even if you undergo formal proceedings and are eventually unable to verify your complaints, your employer still cannot take action against you for coming forward. This protection is further extended to non-contractual employment and the process of applying for employment.

If you believe you have received unfair treatment from your employer or potential employer for exercising your legally protected rights against discrimination, then you may have a legal case for filing a workplace retaliation claim.



What is Workplace Discrimination?

There was a time in this nation before labor laws adequately protected employees, when employers commonly deprived them of even their most basic human rights, with few consequences. Countless struggles for justice ensued, eventually leading to federal legislation protecting employees from discrimination being passed – along with protections against workplace retaliation for exercising those new rights.

One of the first and preeminent landmark pieces of legislation protecting workers’ rights was Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This law famously protects employees from discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, and national origin. Discrimination is defined here broadly to include harassment, unfair employment decisions, or denial of employment.

The legislation also includes legal protection for employees against workplace retaliation for making complaints, filing charges, or being involved in proceedings concerning discrimination in the workplace.

Today, workers have the protection of numerous state and federal laws against workplace retaliation for actions taken against employers concerning illegal activities such as fraud, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, equal pay, and more. Any actions to expose these activities are legally protected against workplace retaliation and therefore subject to claims against any employer found to be in violation.



Chicago Workplace Anti-Retaliation Ordinance

Chicago workers have the same federal protections against discrimination and workplace retaliation concerning civil rights and the exposure of malfeasance as the rest of the country, as well as any specific state laws. The crux of these laws is to protect workers against being penalized for exercising their legally protected rights against discrimination or experiencing discrimination in the form of worker retaliation in the process of exposing illegal or corrupt practices.

One example of local worker retaliation protection in Chicago is the recently passed Anti-Retaliation Ordinance against workplace retaliation for employees who follow legally issued orders by the governor of Illinois, mayor of Chicago, Chicago Department of Public Health, and healthcare providers related to Covid-19.


Taking Action

Indeed, it is not always clear if an employer is genuinely retaliating against an employee or taking legitimate steps unrelated to their employee’s actions against discrimination. If you are concerned that you have experienced workplace retaliation as a result of your actions in legally exercising your rights against discrimination or exposure of malfeasance, then you may have a legal claim against your employer.

The actions you take in the process of expressing your rights should, first and foremost, have documentation from senior management, HR, or an outside organization. Proving a direct connection between your action and the retaliation will rely on careful notes and documentation.  Gather any evidence, whether written or verbal, that shows a demonstrated action on the part of your employer against you that may suggest retaliation.

If you feel you’re a victim of workplace retaliation,  you may be able to take legal action against your employer.  We’re here to listen to you and advise you on what recourse you can take.  Ready to talk?  Contact the Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers today at 312-600-6000.

Larry Disparti and the workplace retaliation attorneys at the Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers have quickly become Chicago’s leader in Employment Law.



When it comes to employment law, find out why thousands of our clients say, Larry Wins!


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The Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers is one of the most successful law firms serving the greater Chicago and Tampa areas. As the leader in Injury, Disability, Workers’ Comp, and Employment Law, with more than $1 Billion in recoveries, The Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers has been named One of the Most Influential Law Firms in America by Trial Lawyer Magazine.

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