Chicago associate Goli Rahimi authored an article in the Chicago Bar Association publication, CBA Record. The article, featured as the July/August cover story, titled “The Illinois Whistleblower Act: Defending Against a Retaliation Claim,” examines the Illinois Whistleblower Act (IWA).
In the article, Rahimi discusses the key points employers need to know.
Illinois employers enjoy the protection of Illinois’ status as an at-will state, as they are permitted to terminate their employers at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. Recently, however, employers and their counsel have witnessed a growing trend of exceptions to the at-will rule that provide greater protection for certain discharged employees.
Distinct from the Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act, which is commonly referred to as the False Claims Act, the IWA provides employees three types of protection with regards to whistleblowing:
740 ILCS 174/10: Prohibits an employer from adopting policies that prevent employees from disclosing suspected violations of state or federal law to a government or law enforcement agency;
740 ILCS 174/15: Prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency;
740 ILCS 174/20: Forbids an employer from retaliating against an employee who refuses to participate in an activity that violates state or federal law.
The nuances associated with the IWA are few in number but high in complexity. It behooves employers, and their counsel, to familiarize themselves with the intricacies embedded within the IWA in order to tip the scales in their favor.