Being injured at work can make your life more difficult than you imagined. While you’re out of work and unable to earn a wage, your medical bills can quickly accumulate, leaving you in a financial bind. Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits may help you offset these losses so that you can focus on your recovery and getting back to work.
However, taking workers’ compensation benefits may be more dangerous than you expected. This is because workers’ compensation retaliation is a real risk that you may face while you’re recovering from your injuries or once you return to work.
What is workers’ compensation retaliation?
Workers’ compensation retaliation comes about if you are penalized unfairly for filing a workers’ compensation claim and recovering benefits. You may face severe penalties for that action. You may be reassigned to a less-favorable position, be forced to return to work too early or even get fired. In other instances, the employer makes working for it unbearable in an attempt to get you to quit. This kind of retaliation is illegal. Other forms of retaliation may include:
- Reduced hours
- Changed work hours
- Reduced pay
Why does workers’ compensation retaliation occur?
There’s no one reason why retaliatory practices are implemented. However, in many instances, employers are forced to pay higher premiums when their employees file workers’ compensation claims, which means it’s a matter of money to them. They may also be subjected to more stringent workplace regulations if workplace injuries are reported, which can be burdensome and costly to an employer.
As a result, an employer may try to remove or punish those who file a workers’ compensation claim. The hope, then, is that others will be deterred from filing these claims so that the employer can save money.
What should you do if someone has retaliated against you?
If you think that you’ve been subjected to workers’ compensation discrimination, you may be justified in taking legal action, including pursuing a wrongful termination claim. If you’re successful in doing so, you may be able to recover compensation for the damages that you experience, which may include back pay, lost wages and emotional distress.
To win one of these cases, you’re going to need to have strong evidence to support your claim. This may include communications that you’ve had with your employer that specifies the justifications for the adverse employment decision as well as the timing of the negative action against you. In essence, you’ll have to show that obtaining workers’ compensation benefits was a motivating factor in the adverse decision against you.
You’ll also want to be prepared to contradict your employer’s claims. If they say that the adverse action was taken because of poor performance, look at your performance appraisals and written compliments for contrary evidence. If they claim that you were consistently late to work, acquire your attendance records to show differently. Be thorough here so that you can rebuff your employer’s claims at every turn.
Are you ready to fight to protect your interests?
Far too many workers in the Lexington area allow themselves to be taken advantage of by their employer. They don’t scrutinize their situation enough and they often don’t ask enough questions.
If you suspect that you were treated unfairly by your employer, you should delve into the matter further to see if you need to take aggressive action to protect yourself. If you aren’t sure about how to do that, you might want to get some legal assistance in your corner. Hopefully, by doing so, you can hold your employer accountable for its egregious behavior and recover the compensation that you need to make yourself whole again.