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Workers Compensation Discrimination Can Happen: Here’s How To Recognize It

Workers comp discrimination can present itself in different ways, but the main idea is that you or your position is negatively affected just by the act of filing a workers comp claim.

When Missouri workers get injured, they are legally entitled to workers compensation, which are benefits meant to help the workers tend to their medical needs if they injured or sick on the job.

Any employer with five or more workers is legally obligated to offer these benefits. Additionally, the law makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against their workers for accessing these benefits. If they do so, this is called discrimination, and you have legal options to fight against it.

How to Recognize Discrimination

In most cases, workers comp cases will resolve without too much of a hassle. The insurance also protects the employer from being sued by the injured worker for negligence, so in a way, it’s a type of win-win situation.

But exceptions can sometimes occur. Workers comp discrimination can present itself in different ways, but the main idea is that you or your position in your place of employment are negatively affected just by the act of filing a workers comp claim.

If you are subjected to harassment because of your sex, age, religion, race, ethnicity, disability, or are part of any other protected class, then you may have a case of ‘hostile work environment’. If a coworker or your employer is taking any sort of hostile action against
you based on who you are, then you may have legal options.

Here are some forms of workers comp discrimination:

  • Having your wages reduced or put on hold as a result of filing a claim
  • Getting demoted, even if you are physically fit to continue working in your previous position
  • Firing you after a claim has been filed
  • Rejecting your workers comp claim
  • Delaying the processing of the claim
  • Trying to discourage you from filing the claim
  • Creating a hostile environment to single you out for filing a claim, which may even be replicated by your co-workers.

If your employer starts behaving differently as soon as you file your claim, you should reach out to a St. Louis workers comp lawyer at once. Missouri law clearly states that you cannot be fired or demoted because you filed a workers comp claim.

In some cases, you may have to be given a different role because of your injuries. For instance, if you injured your back and cannot perform your regular activities because they involve lifting heavy objects, then your employer can move you to another department to work at a desk. However, this is simply a temporary measure to allow you to fully heal, and your employer cannot cut your pay.

Additionally, if your employer threatens you, or tries to convince you to skip on filing a claim, call a lawyer at once and inform them.

When to Contact a Work Injury Attorney

If you filed a workers comp claim, and suspect your employer is retaliating against you, contact a St. Louis workers compensation lawyer now. Your employer will try to justify their behavior using your past as a motive, so you’ll need evidence to prove they are acting as retaliation to you filing a compensation claim. A lawyer can help you gather sufficient evidence, and protect yourself against your employer.

Call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 to request a free consultation.

Updated: January 29, 2020