Can My Employer Retaliate Against An Employee For Filing A Workers Compensation Case?
Each day, thousands of workers fall down from injury or illness. This keeps them from work for millions of days each year if you add it all up. This has a tremendous effect on the economy. It costs companies hundreds of billions of dollars. They will never get it back. That’s a part of the job though.
You know who also suffers? The workers at the center of the accidents suffer. They endure endless pain. They shell out dollars from their own pocket for medical care. They lose wages in recovering. After this series of events, many bring workers’ compensation claims. It only makes sense.
Sometimes, companies retaliate against workers that bring claims. Maybe they think they have valid reasons, it’s against the law to do it though. Most states ban it. If you face pressure, realize there’s something you can do about it.
Our firm helps workers bring comp claims. We know how to push back against unwieldy employers. The next few sections will show you how you can do that too! For more insight, contact our team. We can help you see how you can help after a work injury!
- The Reality of the Modern Workplace
- How is the System Supposed to Work?
- How do Companies Retaliate for Workers’ Comp Claims?
- What can I do if my Employer Retaliates Against me?
- Additional Resources for Workers’ Comp Matters
- We can Help if Your Employer Retaliates Against You!
The Reality of the Modern Workplace
Recently, we met with a man from Illinois. He worked just outside Chicago. The area was bustling with traffic and industry. His particular job was construction. This isn’t the safest of employments. Honestly, it’s the most dangerous field out there. More construction workers get hurt each year than any other kind of worker.
Nevertheless, he went to work every day. He put in his time and added value to the company. On unfortunate day, a beam fell onto his head. There was some mix up about its handling. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Like a lot of people in his shoes might have, he brought a workers’ compensation claim. That was in the process of being settled out when the company let him go. The man believed the firing was in retaliation for the claim he brought. That would be against the law in most states. The rule is that you can’t fire someone for bringing a workers’ comp claim.
This rule trumps at-will employee status. With that norm, employers don’t need a reason to fire someone. Retaliation firings for workers’ comp claims are an exception to that rule. Thus, the motivations for firing matter. It becomes a very fact-intensive dispute.
Let’s not forget, retaliation is a major affront to workers. The comp system acknowledges the dangers of the workplace. To remove the worker from the process breaks the compromise that was made. Companies can get off scot-free by avoiding lawsuit and comp payments. Also, it casts a shadow over other workers. They will be less inclined to bring a claim if they fear penalty or termination.
We want to talk more about that system now. We’ll also discuss what you can do if your employer retaliates against you for bringing workers’ comp claims.
How is the System Supposed to Work?
Workers’ comp is an insurance-style model. Companies pay into it. Payments are kind of like premiums. Normally, businesses pay depending upon how many people are in their employ. If one of their workers get injured, the state pays from that collective pile of money.
What’s great about this process is that workers don’t have prove the harm was someone else’s fault. They just have to claim they got sick or hurt while working. Then, the program should work automatically. It needs to work fast too. From the moment of injury or sickness, workers have bills, pain, and frustration. They need a program that is seamless.
That program just demands that they were a qualified worker that was harmed while working. There are two or three requirements within that definition. It’s more of a pro forma thing though. It’s normally satisfied on a routine basis. Challenges are infrequent because it’s so straightforward. Yet, they do come about from time to time. What also comes about is retaliation. We’ll talk about what that looks like and what you can do about it next.
How do Companies Retaliate for Workers’ Comp Claims?
Lots of companies assist workers after injuries. They help them get medical attention. They keep them updated during recovery. They assimilate them back once they’re better. Yet, not all bosses follow this line. Sometimes they make life very difficult for workers that file claims. It’s not out of the blue.
Most claims cost businesses lots of money. They need to find replacement workers. They may need to higher lawyers to represent them. They might have out of pocket for compensation. Their premiums could go up. This creates a lot of frustration for management. That frustration may turn into retaliation. How do companies retaliate against workers?
Workers that bring comp claims might see a number of kinds of retaliation. For one thing, the company can just let them go. It’s not unheard to see a worker fired for bringing a claim. Businesses might lower their pay or demote them too. You might also experience a change in responsibility.
Finally, other forms of discipline can emerge in subtle and nuanced ways. All these may come due to your claim. They will probably all be against the law. Why does it happen? They’re betting on your silence. Now, we’ll show you what you can do about it. Don’t stay silent! Stand up for your rights!
What can I do if my Employer Retaliates Against me?
Many employers might want to fire workers that bring claims. Such claims can raise the cost of business. They can also make it harder going forward. Yet, in most states, it’s against the law the law to do that. The federal government doesn’t have prohibition on it though. Yet, despite variance in language, nearly every state does.
What can you do if an employer retaliates against you for bringing a claim? What if the company fires you or otherwise punishes for it? The answer is simple: you can sue them. This goes around the general rule of not being able to sue your employer. It also skirts the at-will ability of businesses firing workers for any reason. You have to show a few things though to win in your case. Let’s review them.
- You’re qualified tor benefits. This includes showing you’re an instate employee.
- You were entitled to file a claim.
- The company retaliated against you for that.
- The company retaliated because you took the action you were entitled to (i.e. filed a claim).
How you must show these elements depends on state law. For instance, some states demand that you prove the company fired you only because you filed a claim. On the other state, other states merely ask that you show the claim was a main reason for the firing or other disciplinary measure.
Also, remember that if the company can point to a legitimate reason for your removal, it can get off the hook. This makes the lawsuit for wrongful termination a very fact-intensive matter. You need to make sure the facts are on your side. If they are, it may be fruitful.
These cases fetch a lot more than common workers’ comp claims. You can get punitive damages and other compensation not available through that process. Note though, your state may place other restrictions on this type of suit.
For instance, you might need to file it within a short set of time. Check with counsel regarding your ability to sue and how you should do it. You can do something if your employer retaliates against you for bringing a workers’ comp claim! We can help show you how!
Additional Resources for Workers’ Comp Matters
Here is some extended information on the topic. It should help you if your employer retaliates against you for bringing a workers’ comp claim.
We can Help if Your Employer Retaliates Against You!
You have the right to seek workers’ comp if injury strikes on the job. You shouldn’t be penalized if you contract an illness while working. Yet, many employers retaliate against workers that seek claims. They’re trying to protect their bottom line.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers protects workers. To find out how you can respond to company retaliation, call us. We can protect your career and your claim!
Learn more about workers’ comp claims. Read the following articles.