Workers’ Compensation Retaliation

If you were injured on the job and filed a workers’ compensation claim, then were subsequently terminated, laid off, downsized, or otherwise punished for seeking compensation, you may have a right to additional compensation. The law protects injured workers who suffer retaliation at the hands of their employers following a workplace injury. Many injured workers are afraid to report their injuries due to fear or retaliation. This can lead to unreported accidents, untreated injuries, and a complete breakdown of the workplace. For these reasons, the law protects injured workers from retribution, when they seek compensation for their injuries.

At Five Points Law Group, we aggressively fight to protect the rights of injured workers who have been fired or denied promotions as a result of their workers’ compensation claims. Call today to speak with an attorney about your case.

Why Would Employers Retaliate Against Injured Workers?

When a worker is hurt on the job and files a workers’ compensation claim, the employer must turn over the matter to their insurance carrier. Claims can make insurance premiums go up, which, in turn, can mean the employer has to pay more money. For this reason, employers often fight hard to avoid having employees file claims for their injuries. Some employers will even go to such lengths as coercing employees to lie about how they were injured, or they may offer to pay the hospital bill with cash in exchange for the worker not reporting the injury. These are extremely improper actions, but they show how far employers will go to avoid having claims filed against their insurance. So, when workers do file claims for their injuries, employers may feel the need to take actions to punish the worker or “send a message” to other employees in order to discourage others from filing claims.

What Counts as Retaliation?

Retaliation can be just about any adverse or negative action that is done with the intention of punishing the employee or discouraging others from seeking compensation for injuries. Retaliation can include:

  • Termination
  • Temporary lay offs
  • Denying promotions
  • Denying transfers
  • Involuntary transfers
  • Demotions or transfers to less favorable jobs
  • Reduced pay or “docking” wages
  • Public shaming or publishing names of injured workers
How Does the Law Protect Workers from Retaliation?

In general, Alabama law treats all employment as “at-will.” This means you can quit for any reason or be terminated for any reason. The exception is, you can not be fired for an illegal purpose. This can include discriminatory reasons or reasons that are protected by statutory provisions. Workers’ compensation is just that sort of statute.

Under Section 25-5-11.1 of the Alabama Code, an employee cannot legally be terminated for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

The law regards injured workers in much the same way as a protected class. Employers may try to say they fired or punished an injured worker for something unrelated to the filing of the workers’ compensation claim, but often the reasons are merely pretexts or excuses. The law also protects whistleblowers. This means those who are punished for reporting injuries, speaking up as witnesses, or reporting safety violations are also protected.

What to do if You Experience Retaliation

If you believe your employer has fired you or taken other adverse employment actions against you because you sought compensation for a workplace injury, contact Five Points Law Group and schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation. Not all adverse actions are protected by the law. If you are protected, one of our experienced attorneys may be able to help you seek compensation for your lost income. Do not let an employer tell you your rights; put our firm to work for you today.

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