The Illinois Whistleblower Act, 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. §175 et.seq., applies to employers of one or more employees, but does not include protection for governmental entities. Under the Act, employees in Illinois are afforded protection for engaging in activity as described below. The Act makes it unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against an employee for engaging in protected activity and covers actions such as termination, demotion, wage reduction, failure to promote, and write-ups.
- Sec. 10. Certain policies are prohibited. Prohibits employers from enacting policies preventing an employee from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of a State or Federal law, rule, or regulation.
- Sec. 15. Retaliation for certain disclosures is prohibited.
Sec. 20. Retaliation for certain refusals is prohibited. An employer may not retaliate against an employee for refusing to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of a State or federal law, rule, or regulation, including, but not limited to, violations of the Freedom of Information Act.
Sec. 20.1. Other retaliation. Any other act or omission not otherwise specifically set forth in this Act, whether within or without the workplace, also constitutes retaliation by an employer under this Act if the act or omission would be materially adverse to a reasonable employee and is because of the employee disclosing or attempting to disclose public corruption or wrongdoing.
Sec. 20.2. Threatening retaliation. An employer may not threaten any employee with any act or omission if that act or omission would constitute retaliation against the employee under this Act.
Sec. 25. Civil penalty. Violation of this Act is a Class A misdemeanor.
Sec. 30. Damages. If an employer takes any action against an employee in violation of Section 15 or 20, the employee may bring a civil action against the employer for all relief necessary to make the employee whole, including but not limited to the following, as appropriate:
- 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.
- 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.
- reinstatement with the same seniority status that
the employee would have had, but for the violation;
- back pay, with interest; and
- compensation for any damages sustained as a
result of the violation, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney’s fees.
Sec. 35. Exception. This Act does not apply to disclosures that would constitute a violation of the attorney-client privilege.
Sec. 40. Home Rule Limitation. It is the public policy of this State, pursuant to paragraphs (h) and (i) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution that the provisions of this Act are the exclusive exercise by the State of powers and functions which might otherwise be exercised by other home rule units. Such powers and functions may not be exercised concurrently, either directly or indirectly by any unit of local government, including any home rule unit except as otherwise authorized by this Act.