As stated in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (5 ILCS 430/15-5), employees who in good faith, report or threaten to report an act or omission they believe to be a violation of law, policy, or procedure are protected from retaliation if an employee does any of the following:
- Discloses or threatens to disclose to a supervisor or to a public body an activity, policy, or practice of any officer, member, State agency, or other State employee that the State employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation.
- Provides information to or testifies before any public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry into any violation of a law, rule, or regulation by any officer, member, State agency, or other State employee.
- Assists or participates in a proceeding to enforce the provisions of this Act.
Retaliation is defined in the Ethics Act as the reprimand, discharge, suspension, demotion, denial of promotion or transfer, or change in the terms or conditions of employment of any State employee, that is taken in retaliation for a State employee’s involvement in protected activity.
If it is found that retaliation has occurred, remedies may be awarded and may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- reinstatement of the employee to either the same position held before the retaliatory action or to an equivalent position;
- Two times the amount of back pay;
- interest on the back pay;
- the reinstatement of full fringe benefits and seniority rights; and
- the payment of reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees.
More information may also be found on the OEIG’s website for Whistleblower Protection.