At times, an employer can retaliate against an employee that filed or has received workers compensation.
Workers who suffer injuries in the workplace are entitled to workers compensation benefits that cover medical expenses and a part of wage loss. As per the Missouri law, all employers are bound by law to have workers compensation insurance and pay for valid claims made by any injured employee.
Employers are often reluctant when it comes to paying workers compensation because it increases the premium they have to pay. Therefore it is not uncommon for employer to dissuade and discourage employees from filing for workers compensation claims. At times, an employer can even retaliate and become vengeful against an employee who has filed for, or got, workers compensation. In this article we will explain how to handle such a situation.
Ways an Employer Can Retaliate
According to the law, not only does the employer have to provide for a valid workers compensation claim, but also has to, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, accommodate an injured employee or a disabled employee after he returns. These laws protect workers from retaliation. Nevertheless, there are cases where employers behave unfairly, or even fire employees who have exercised their right to workers compensation.
Vengeful employers have been known to retaliate in the following manner:
- By giving an unjust negative performance review the injured employee. An injury or illness cannot be fair reasons for giving a poor evaluation.
- By denying promotion. A workplace injury cannot be the basis for denying an employee promotion.
- By not accommodating any limitations medically forced on the injured employee. The employer has to accommodate the disabilities caused by the injury and provide a similar job that can accommodate the limitations.
- By firing an injured employee. Employers cannot terminate an employee from service solely on the basis of making a workers compensation claim, or for absence from work due to the injury.
How to Prove Unjust Employer Treatment
It often proves to be a challenge for the injured employee to prove any connections between the unfair treatment by the employer and the workers compensation claim. Many employers refute claims of unfair treatment and retaliation. Employees therefore have to be able to prove the following:
- That they are entitled to workers compensation benefit by law.
- That a workers compensation claim was filed within the required time, and through right channels.
- That an adverse action (like termination or significant change in terms and conditions of employment) was taken against them.
- That the adverse action was taken in direct relation to the workers compensation claim made by the injured employee.
- How to prove unjust employer treatment
The process of proving these is an uphill task. Often, cases can go against the employee if an employer has a valid reason for termination during the ongoing workers compensation case. Moreover, if direct causation cannot be proved, the case can be lost.
Workplace Retaliation Lawyer
When an employee wins a workers compensation case, he could get his job (or a comparable one) back, get a previously denied promotion, or receive remuneration in the form of punitive damages from the employer. However, considering the difficulty of proving employer retaliation, it is often advised to seek assistance from an experienced St. Louis workers compensation attorney.
If you are the victim of workplace retaliation by your employer due to filing a workers compensation claim, call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online contact form.