Quetion: Can My Employer Retaliate Against Me for Seeking Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
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Answer: Workers’ compensation laws are designed to provide benefits to injured employees. These laws also protect employers because workers’ compensation benefits are the only method for injured employees to recover the costs of their injuries. Some employers, however, look down on employees who file workers compensation claims. Some employers even blatantly discriminate against these employees. Many states protect employees from employers who discriminate against, harass, or unjustly terminate injured employees who file workers’ compensation benefits claims. These states allow employees to sue their employees in civil court for “retaliatory damage.”
An employee may sue for retaliatory damage if he or she has been discriminated against or terminated because he or she filed a workers compensation benefits claim. In this kind of lawsuit, the employee must show that it was more likely than not that he or she was wrongfully terminated. However, the employee does not have to show that the workers’ compensation claim is the only reason for the termination. A court will usually consider if the employer’s action was based substantially or significantly on the employee’s workers’ compensation claim.
Retaliation may take other forms than discrimination. Retaliation may also appear as a demotion or a pay cut. Injured employees are protected from all types of discriminatory conduct immediately after an injury and even before they have filed a workers’ compensation claim. An employee may be able to bring a retaliation lawsuit even if he or she didn’t tell his or her employer about the workers’ compensation claim. The best way to determine if you have a valid retaliation lawsuit is to contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.