Important Considerations When Making Wage claims Against Public Employers

December 3, 2021

Public employers are shielded from liability (legal responsibility) arising from the operation of government.

The Tort Immunity Act will restrict a number of claims that may be brought against local and/or state authorities because the legislature seeks to prevent public funds from being used beyond their intended purpose for the payment of damage claims. Accordingly, certain claims against a public employer are subject to a one-year period against a public employer, the statute of limitations will bar those claims. Statutes of limitations against private persons or entities, regarding tort claims, are subject to a longer period of limitations.

An Illinois appellate court ruled a few years ago that the Tort Immunity Act does not apply to an employee’s claims for wages against a public employer.

In the case of Prorok v. Winnebago County, the appellate court overturned a lower court’s decision dismissing a former employee’s claim for unpaid wages filed after the one-year statute of limitation period based on the Tort Immunity Act. In so ruling, the appellate court determined that the employee’s claim for back wages was based on his contractual relationship. The employee had ten years to bring a claim for unpaid compensation under the Illinois Wage and Pay Act, 735 ILCS 5/13-206.

Illinois employees, who work for public employers, have up to ten years to file timely claims for unpaid compensation. The Tort Immunity Act does not apply, therefore, to bar public employees from pursuing wage claims against governmental employers.

DISCLAIMER: The above is not and should not be interpreted as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only. You should consult an attorney for legal advice. 

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