Wrongful Termination Retaliation Claims
Before an on-the-job injury, most workers’ think that their employer would “do the right thing” if they ever had to file a workers’ compensation claim. Most workers’ believe that the professional relationship they have with their employer could not be better and most workers’ believe that their employer would look after them if they could not return to work because of an injury.
After an injury, though, injured workers’ quickly find out that everything they thought they knew about their company changes. Suddenly, the employer is harassing you to return to work and questioning you about why the doctor still has you off of work. The company may even try to pressure you to get the doctor to give you a full duty release so that you can return to work – promising you that they will only give you light duty work.
It is typically under these circumstances that the injured worker finds out that they have been terminated from their job. In some situations, the termination can come hours, days, or weeks after an employee has been injured and filed a workers’ compensation claim. Regardless of when an injured worker is terminated, the law is clear on this issue – an injured worker cannot be terminated in retaliation for getting injured on the job or for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Retaliation by an employer against an injured employee can happen with any type of company and to any employee, regardless of the number of years of service that you have provided to the company.
If your employer has terminated you after you were injured on the job or filed a workers’ compensation claim, there are several factors that should be considered in trying to determine if you might have a wrongful termination claim. For example, after you were injured on the job, did the employer’s behavior toward you change? The change in behavior could range from blatant, all out harassment by your employer to you being completely ignored. If the employer’s behavior towards you did change, it’s important to note how soon the change happened in relation to the injury and filing of your workers’ compensation claim.
In some cases, an injured worker returns to work in a light duty capacity after their injury. Depending on their job duties before the injury and the light duty restrictions, when an injured worker returns to work, it could be doing to same type of work or a different type of work altogether. For many injured workers, the employer’s change in behavior is evident once they return to work light duty. If you have returned to work light duty, is the employer making it more difficult for you to perform your work duties? This can range from the employer not complying with the light duty restrictions to being subjected to harassment from co-workers while at work. In many instances, injured workers describe feeling like the employer was searching for an excuse to terminate them.
If you were terminated after you were injured on the job, you may be a victim of retaliation. Please call our office and speak with one of our attorneys to determine if you have a wrongful termination claim.