Individuals seeking worker’s compensation are faced with hours upon hours of paperwork, doctors’ evaluation appointments, legal fees, and other miscellaneous activities regarding their case. As if this wasn’t enough, sometimes employers retaliate. As of 2013, recorded workplace injuries had dropped by 31% over a period of ten years, but a growing number of companies were reported to have retaliated against workers’ compensation claims within the same time period. How are the interests of the worker best protected in this situation? Don’t be intimidated by employer retaliation.
Know Your Rights
Fear of retaliation should not deter you from seeking the legal rights afforded to individuals injured at work. These are:
- Entitlement to worker’s compensation benefits throughout their career (not a contract worker or someone who signed away rights to worker’s compensation).
- Filing for worker’s compensation as remuneration for a serious work-related injury or illness.
- Termination or experience of negative changes to conditions of employment due to filing aforementioned worker’s compensation claims.
A majority of states have laws, which prohibit employers from retaliation against injured workers, but federal law outlines no specific stipulations regarding worker’s compensation retaliation. Most federal laws target other kinds of retaliation, so it is important to understand your state’s legal stance on this issue. Qualified and experienced attorneys will be familiar with state specific worker’s compensation retaliation laws, so consider them a resource if state law statutes are not clear from personal research.
Florida state law outlines anti-retaliation provisions found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Florida Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended, and the Family Medical and Leave Act. Any worker seriously injured due to work conditions will usually qualify for worker’s compensation benefits. Unless fraud is proven, there is very little chance an employer can challenge a worker’s right to fair compensation.
Once work termination or change to conditions of employment has been linked with recent worker’s compensation claims, workers have a right to protect themselves legally. It’s advisable to hire a knowledgeable legal team that has experience in state law, regardless of severity of company action. Larger corporations may attempt to mask retaliation through loopholes in legal statutes or even fraud, however this should not deter anyone from seeking legal assistance that will allow fair receipt of compensation for work-related injuries. Don’t let employer retaliation threaten the future of your livelihood. Get informed with the appropriate legal knowledge.