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Federal court makes it tougher for employees to prove retaliation

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in Employment Law,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Federal courts often use the well-known McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting test to determine whether an employer has unlawfully discriminated against an employee.

Now the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that when it considers an Illinois workers’ compensation retaliation claim, it must apply an Illinois state law rule that is more demanding for employees than the McDonnell Douglas test.

Under McDonnell Douglas, the plaintiff must make an initial showing of discrimination by proving:

  1. He’s part of a protected class.
  2. He met his employer’s legitimate performance expectations.
  3. He suffered an adverse employment action.
  4. Similarly situated employees outside of his protected class were treated more favorably.

If the plaintiff successfully proves all four points, the burden shifts to the employer to establish a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the alleged adverse action. If the employer can do that, the burden shifts b...(register to read more)

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