Florida workers sometimes hesitate to file a workers’ compensation claim out of fear of employer retaliation. It is important to understand that the Florida’s workers’ compensation law specifically prohibits retaliatory conduct like firing, or threatening to fire, a worker. However, the law goes farther than that. The statute also makes it illegal to attempt to intimidate or bribe an employee that may have a workers’ compensation claim.
Retaliation Takes Many Forms
There are numerous ways an employer might retaliate against an employee for filing a claim. The worker might suddenly receive a negative performance review. Wages might be decreased or benefits might be altered. A worker might be passed over for a promotion or even demoted. The nature of a worker’s job may even be changed to make it harder.
Unfortunately, even co-workers that testify on a claimant’s behalf might be subject to retaliatory conduct. Retaliation against workers that provide information to support a co-worker’s claim is also illegal under Florida law.
Documentation is Important
Of course, retaliatory actions are sometimes cloaked or disguised. The employer may claim that negative experiences occurring after the filing of a workers’ comp. claim were merely coincidental or that other unrelated factors motivated them. Therefore, an employee should carefully track all aspects of the employee/employer relationship, because providing documentation may prove helpful in claiming illegal retaliation. It is important to note dates, times and the nature of relevant communication.
Finally, it is important to understand that employer retaliation is illegal regardless of the merits of an employee’s workers’ compensation claim. It’s possible to file a lawsuit claiming retaliation even when the original claim was not strong enough. For further information or to consult with an attorney about your personal workplace situation, please contact us.