May 29, 2024

Will My Employer Retaliate if I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Will My Employer Retaliate if I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim - worker filing out a workers' compensation form

Filing a workers’ compensation claim is a legally protected right. In fact, many employers are insured for this very thing. 

However, that doesn’t mean corrupt business owners won’t break the law. In that case, simply contact Morgan & Morgan, America’s largest personal injury law firm. There’s no business too big for us to handle, and we can stand by your side to fight for the workers’ comp you need and deserve.

Hiring one of our lawyers is easy, and you can start now with a free case evaluation. We know the hardship of a work injury can be expensive, so Morgan & Morgan expects no upfront fees. Our Fee Is Free™, and you only pay if we get a successful outcome.


How Does the Law Protect My Right to File for Workers’ Comp?

Federal and state laws provide robust protections for employees who file workers' compensation claims. These laws make it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for exercising their rights to claim benefits.


State Protections

Every state has workers' compensation laws that prohibit employer retaliation. These laws ensure that employees can file claims without fear of adverse actions such as termination, demotion, or other forms of discrimination.


Federal Protections

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides additional protections. Under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a safety or health complaint or for exercising other rights under the Act.


Additional Protections

Many companies have internal policies that explicitly forbid retaliation against employees who file workers’ compensation claims. These policies are designed to create a safe and fair work environment.

Some employees are also protected by specific terms in their employment contracts or union collective bargaining agreements that provide additional safeguards against retaliation.


What Are Some Signs of Employer Retaliation?

Employer retaliation can happen in different ways, and employees should recognize these signs to protect their rights. 

Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for engaging in legally protected activities, such as filing a workers’ compensation claim, reporting workplace safety violations, or participating in a discrimination investigation. 


Termination or Layoff

Unjustified Firing: Being fired shortly after engaging in a protected activity is one of the clearest signs of retaliation. If the termination comes without a valid reason or is based on fabricated grounds, it may be retaliatory.

Layoffs: Being included in a layoff while others in similar positions are not, especially if it follows soon after you engage in a protected activity.


Demotion or Reassignment

Demotion: Being demoted to a lower position with less responsibility or reduced pay without a legitimate business reason.

Reassignment: Being transferred to a less desirable location, shift, or job duties that are not aligned with your skills or experience.


Reduction in Hours or Pay

Cut Hours: Experiencing a significant reduction in your work hours, leading to decreased income, especially when it is not justified by business needs.

Pay Cuts: Receiving an unexplained or unjustified reduction in salary or wages.


Negative Performance Reviews

Unwarranted Criticism: Receiving negative performance evaluations or being placed on a performance improvement plan without a valid basis, particularly when your work has not changed or has been consistently good.

Increased Scrutiny: Facing excessive monitoring or criticism of your work that seems disproportionate or unfair.


Hostile Work Environment

Harassment: Experiencing verbal or physical harassment from supervisors or coworkers after engaging in a protected activity.

Exclusion: Being excluded from meetings, projects, or social activities that you were previously involved in can impact your work performance and career progression.

Isolation: Being isolated from coworkers, receiving silent treatment, or having communication cut off.


Denial of Benefits and Opportunities

Promotions: Being passed over for promotions or advancement opportunities that you are qualified for, especially if you were a strong candidate before the protected activity.

Training and Development: Being denied access to training programs, professional development opportunities, or other benefits that are provided to other employees.

Bonuses and Raises: Not receiving bonuses, raises, or other financial incentives that you are entitled to, particularly when they were given to others in similar positions.


Changes in Job Duties

Unjustified Job Changes: Having your job duties significantly changed in a way that undermines your position or makes your work more difficult without a legitimate business reason.

Menial Tasks: Being assigned menial or less significant tasks that do not align with your job description or experience level.


Unjust Disciplinary Actions

Unfair Disciplinary Measures: Facing disciplinary actions such as written warnings, suspensions, or other penalties that are not warranted based on your behavior or performance.

Punitive Actions: Being penalized for minor infractions that were previously overlooked or tolerated.


Retaliatory Legal Actions

Counterclaims: Facing counterclaims or legal actions from your employer as a response to your original complaint or claim, especially if they seem unfounded or vindictive.


What Should I Do if My Employer Retaliated Against Me After I Filed a Workers’ Comp Claim?

Employers have a legal and ethical responsibility to respect the rights of their employees and to comply with workers’ compensation laws. Retaliation not only violates these laws but can also damage the employer’s reputation and result in legal consequences. 

If you believe you are being retaliated against for filing a workers' compensation claim, it’s important to take action to protect your rights.

Firstly, document everything. Keep detailed records of any adverse actions taken against you, including dates, times, and descriptions of incidents. Documentation is crucial in building a strong case.

Next, report the retaliation. Inform your employer, preferably in writing, about the retaliation. Refer to your company’s anti-retaliation policy and state that you believe you are being retaliated against for filing a workers' compensation claim.

Then, if the retaliation continues, you can file a complaint with your state’s workers’ compensation board or OSHA. These agencies can investigate your claims and take action against your employer if retaliation is found.

Finally, contact Morgan & Morgan. Seeking legal advice from an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation and employment law can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and navigate the legal process to ensure you receive the protection and compensation you deserve.

Our attorneys understand how disappointing it is to work so hard only to be taken advantage of by rogue employers. Your employer should not retaliate against you for filing a workers' compensation claim—it is within your rights to file such a claim if you were injured in the workplace. In that case, our competent workers' comp attorneys might be able to fight for you.

If your employer retaliates against you for filing a workers' compensation claim, do not panic; Morgan and Morgan might be able to help. Our attorneys file the most employment dispute lawsuits in the country. You can read more about it here.  

As the largest personal injury law firm in the country, Morgan & Morgan has the size and resources to fight for you. And with offices in every state, we represent clients from coast to coast whose rights have been violated by rogue employers.

In addition, we have a solid track record of winning such cases. So far, we have helped our clients recover over $20 billion in different kinds of lawsuits, including those filed against their employers for retaliating against them. Check out some of our most recent results here.

So when you contact Morgan and Morgan for a free case evaluation, you can rest easy knowing that your case is being handled by experts.

Tell us about your case if your employer has retaliated against you for filing a workers' compensation claim or if you are worried they will.