Personal Injury Lawyer
Not everyone qualifies for workers’ compensation, but those who do have the right to seek benefits related to their injuries. However, some people are reluctant to report injuries or file a workers’ compensation claim because they fear that their employer may retaliate against them.
It is against the law for your employer to retaliate against you for engaging in protected activity such as filing a workers’ compensation claim. You have legal recourse if you believe that you have experienced adverse employment action(s) because of a work comp filing.
What Does Employer Retaliation Look Like?
There are many forms that retaliation can take. Broadly speaking, an employer retaliates by taking adverse employment action against you because of your work comp claim. One of the most common and most drastic forms of retaliation is firing an employee for filing workers’ compensation. However, your employer may not dismiss you right away. He or she may wait until you receive a denial of your work comp claim, perhaps hoping that it will not appear that the filing was the cause.
An employer may also retaliate against you by docking your pay, demoting you, or making changes to your work responsibilities or position. Sometimes an injury requires a modification of your work duties, but these are either unrelated to the necessary accommodations or openly defiant of them. You may also face unwarranted or disproportionate disciplinary action as a form of retaliation.
How Can You Tell That You’ve Been Retaliated Against?
It can be difficult to tell whether retaliation has taken place because your employer may be very subtle about it. He or she probably knows that it is illegal to take adverse action because a worker filed a compensation claim so may make up an excuse to hide the real reason. The timing of the adverse action following the claim can be significant, although some employers delay action in an attempt to muddy the waters. If the action seems particularly vindictive, e.g., setting you work responsibilities that the employer knows you cannot perform due to your condition after the accident, may be a sign of retaliation.
What Laws Protect You From Retaliation?
Most states have laws on the books specifically protecting you against retaliation on the basis of workers’ compensation. However, the individual statutes vary by jurisdiction. Federal law protects you from employer retaliation for engaging in a number of protected activities, of which filing work comp is only one.
If you believe you have been the victim of retaliation, you can file a claim against your employer. However, many jurisdictions impose time limits, so you must act as soon as possible after the adverse action occurs. Attorneys, like a workers compensation lawyer from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, can help you with your case when you contact a law office.