When A Workers' Comp Claim Filing Goes Wrong
Those hurt in the workplace have several rights and most are protected by laws and regulations. To say that workers don't suffer from filing a workers' comp claim is inaccurate, though. If you are just trying to be paid the workers' comp benefits you need but are experiencing workplace retaliation, read on for some guidance.
Watch for the Signs of Retaliation
Your employer might not be pleased with your injury and the resulting claim, but retaliation that rises to the level of the below examples is a sign you need to take action. If you have been cleared to work by your workers' comp doctor, take note of the following signs:
- You have been shifted or demoted to another position.
- Your pay and hours have been cut.
- When other workers are offered overtime hours, you are excluded.
- You return to work and are fired or laid off after working for a short time.
- You are qualified for a raise or promotion but are passed over.
- Though you previously had medical benefits, you don't anymore.
- Your co-workers and others are harassing you.
Reasons For the Retaliation
Make no mistake about it, there is no excuse for punishing a worker for filing a workers' comp claim. However, it might be helpful to consider some factors that can lead to those actions. When a worker is hurt and out of work, the employer has to cover the absentee worker and that can cost money. Additionally, employers have to pay workers' compensation premiums and those can rise if many claims are filed.
Don't Allow It to Happen to You
Take the following steps to help you cope with workplace workers' comp retaliation. Keep in mind that you may have to take legal action before the problem is alleviated.
Keep a log of all incidents including conversations and retaliatory actions against you. Report all incidences of retaliation to your supervisor, unless you are certain the supervisor is behind the acts. Go up a level to the next supervisor, if possible. Report to your human resources department, if available. Speak with a workers' comp attorney about the retaliation.
While you might consider the above actions futile, it's important to show that you went through the proper channels. Speak to a workers' comp lawyer about your problems. It's illegal to retaliate against hurt workers and you may have to file suit against the employer so that you keep the benefits that were owed to you.