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What if Your Employer Reduces Your Income After You Apply For Workers’ Comp?

 Posted on June 27, 2024 in Workers' Compensation

Palatine workers' compensation lawyerWorkplace injuries can be life-altering events, often leaving employees in a vulnerable position. When you file for workers’ compensation in Illinois, you expect support and fair treatment. However, some employers may attempt to decrease your earnings after you file for benefits. An Illinois lawyer can help you understand the legality of such actions and your rights.

What You Should Know About Your Rights

In Illinois, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This protection is enshrined in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305/4). Retaliation can take many forms, including:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Reduction in pay or hours
  • Hostile work environment

If taken in response to a workers’ compensation claim, any of these actions are considered unlawful.

Legitimate Reasons for Income Reduction

It is important to note that not all income reductions are retaliatory. There may be legitimate reasons for a decrease in pay, such as:

  • Company-wide pay cuts due to economic hardship
  • Performance-based reductions unrelated to your injury
  • Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, which are typically two-thirds of your average weekly wage

Steps to Take if You Suspect Retaliation

If you believe your employer has reduced your income in retaliation for your workers’ compensation claim, consider the following steps:

  • Keep detailed records of your work hours, pay stubs, and any communications regarding your claim or pay reduction.
  • Request a written explanation for the income reduction. This documentation may prove valuable if legal action becomes necessary.
  • You can file a retaliation complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor within 180 days of the alleged retaliatory action.

Legal Remedies Available

If it is determined that your employer retaliated against you, you may be entitled to various remedies under Illinois law, including:

  • Reinstatement to your former position
  • Back pay for lost wages
  • Compensation for emotional distress
  • Punitive damages in cases of egregious violations

The Importance of Timely Action

In Illinois, there is a strict time limit for filing a retaliation claim. You must file within three years of the retaliatory action, or your claim may be rejected. This emphasizes the importance of acting promptly if you suspect retaliation. The 3-year statute of limitations is defined in the Illinois Human Rights Act (775 ILCS 5/7A-102(A)(1)).

Delaying action can have serious consequences. As time passes, evidence may become harder to gather, witnesses’ memories may fade, and your ability to prove retaliation may diminish. The longer you wait, the more financial harm you may suffer due to reduced income. Prompt action preserves your legal rights and sends a clear message to your employer that you are aware of your rights and willing to defend them.

Protecting Your Rights With a Palatine, IL Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Do not let fear of retaliation deter you from seeking the benefits you deserve. If you suspect your employer has decreased your salary in response to your workers’ compensation claim, you should take action promptly with an Arlington Heights, IL workers’ comp attorney. Call Newland & Newland, LLP at 847-797-8000 for a free consultation.

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