Filing for and securing workers' compensation after an on-the-job injury can be a complicated process in itself. But life becomes even more complicated if you lose your job after filing a claim. Fortunately, it is becoming increasingly common for workers to win cases based on workers' compensation retaliation.
Most states have legal provisions that prohibit employers from retaliating against workers' who file for workers' compensation benefits. But proving retaliation can sometimes be tricky; particularly if your employer has an HR department that knows how to dodge such charges. If you are thinking of bringing a workers' compensation retaliation claim, here are some things you should know or do to increase your chances of success:
You don't have to file a formal claim to establish your intention to pursue workers' compensation. If you simply tell your employer that you've been hurt and ask how to secure medical care, this counts.
Make sure you can show a tangible unfavorable shift in terms of employment that occurred after you filed a claim. This can be a demotion, a change in responsibilities, reduced pay or punitive actions with no apparent cause.
While it goes without saying, act in good faith. In other words, don't create a fraudulent workers' compensation claim.
Document any unfavorable treatment you receive from a manager after filing for workers' comp. Compare how you are treated to how similarly situated employees who have not filed a claim are treated.
If you believe that you've been demoted, terminated or have endured another retaliatory action as a result of filling a workers' compensation claim, consult with an experienced attorney who can help evaluate your situation and give you the information you need to choose the best course of action for you.