Retaliation for filing for workers’ comp should never happen

Many professions exist across the United States that have a high potential for injury, although someone can get hurt doing just about any job. For this reason, laws exist in Colorado regarding workers’ compensation that allow an injured worker to receive help while recovering, to prevent them from financial hardship. Unfortunately, sometimes an employer will retaliate against a worker by phasing out their job or making it more difficult after the injured person returns to work. People who are injured on the job should be able to file for workers’ compensation without the fear of being retaliated against.

This is what happened to one man, after he hurt his back when he slipped on ice at his job for Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., according to Business Insurance. When his doctor advised only light work while he recovered, the company didn’t adjust the man’s duties to accommodate his physical needs. He ended up needing to take several weeks off for physical therapy, after which his boss terminated his position. The worker was able to successfully sue against the retaliatory firing and won over $4 million.

The unfairness of employer retaliation

According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, when an employee is fired without cause after reporting an injury or filing for workers’ compensation, this may constitute unlawful retaliation. Other ways that companies have been known to get revenge for a worker’s comp filing include:

  • Watching an employee’s actions too closely
  • Providing negative job references that were unwarranted
  • Making threats against the employee
  • Refusing to re-hire the employee or denying a promotion
  • Making unjustified negative evaluation remarks

The Wall Street Journal states that federal laws prohibits employers from getting back at workers for reporting injuries and filing for compensation. The government also tells companies they shouldn’t offer awards, bonuses or incentives for safety goals if employees feel like reporting injuries will result in negative action against them.

Getting help from an attorney

Many companies across the U.S. have reported a 31 percent decrease in injuries and safety incidences reported to the federal government over the last 10 years, saying the safety improvement are the result of safety education awareness programs; however, many employees and workers’ compensation attorneys believe there is a problem with employees being afraid to speak up and report an injury, out of fear of retaliation. This simply shouldn’t be allowed to happen, as workers need help during recovery to continue to be able to support their families.

Injured workers can end up with thousands of dollars in insurmountable medical bills, and while they’re recovering they don’t need the worry and headache of employer retaliation. If you have been disciplined for filing for workers’ compensation after being injured on the job, you need to contact an attorney with experience in workers’ compensation laws to discuss your rights.

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