Filing a Whistleblower Claim

Tips for Whistleblowers from an Experienced Chicago Attorney

If you have reported information which you believe is improper or illegal, consider these tips:

  • 1. Seek Legal Help - Before resigning from your job, consult with an attorney experienced in handling whistleblower claims. Even if you believe that you are about to be terminated, resigning could cost you the right to bring a whistleblower claim. Ask your family attorney to refer you to an attorney who concentrates in employment law. Hiring a skilled lawyer may have a significant impact on the outcome of any claim you may have.

  • 2. Do not remove items that do not belong to you - Do not delete files or remove items from the workplace that are not your personal property. Do not access company records if you are not authorized to do so. Such acts may be grounds for discharge, and can nullify any claim you may have against your employer. If you are uncertain as to which items you can legally take or remove certain items or information, seek legal counsel.

  • 3. Remember that Illinois is an employment at-will state - In Illinois, your employer may terminate you for any reason at all, other than an illegal reason such as retaliation. Illinois has no laws that prohibit unfairness to employees.

  • 4. Remain respectful - Even if your employer treats you harshly, your communications with your employer and your co-workers should always be respectful. Avoid actions and statements you would not want a judge or jury to hear about.

  • 5. Do not delay in taking legal action - For certain whistleblower claims, delay could cause you to lose your claim.

  • 6. Consider requesting a copy of your personnel records - During the time you are employed, and for the first year after you leave an employer, you are entitled under Illinois law to a copy of your personnel records within seven days of your written request. If your employer refuses to comply, report it to the Illinois Department of Labor. Seek legal counsel on when would be the best time to make such a request.

  • 7. Consider whether you may be entitled to unemployment compensation - If your employer states that you will be terminated if you do not resign, you may be entitled to unemployment compensation even if you resign, unless you have engaged in some type of misconduct.

  • 8. Do not discount your ability or worth as an employee - Remember that although you may have no control over whether you may be terminated, you can exercise control over how you feel and what you do. If you were terminated even though you performed well, remind yourself daily that employees are often terminated for reasons that have nothing to do with their abilities, performance, or worth.

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