Over a million workers are injured on duty every year in the US, with some injuries proving to be fatal. Typically, companies must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance that provides cover for workers who were injured on the job.
Filing for workers’ comp is a legal entitlement, and it is not something that employees should be punished for. Unfortunately, employees may face some of these adverse behaviors following a workers’ compensation claim:
Hostile working environment
Sometimes, employees have a bad reaction to workers’ comp claims because their insurance policies can rise as a result. This is not the fault of the worker, and employers should expect to pay certain expenses when abiding by the law. The cost of legal cover is typically less than the potential penalties they could face by not following regulations.
Still, employees often face the wrath of an employer who is unhappy about the rise in their policy. This can come in the form of unfair criticism, verbal abuse and even physical harassment in some cases. All of this is considered to be workers’ comp retaliation, which is unlawful.
An employer might even go one step further and terminate the worker based on their claim. While Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state, a worker cannot be fired for asserting their legal right to workers’ compensation. Importantly, this includes assisting someone else who is asserting their legal rights. Workers’ comp cases usually require employees to testify on the injured worker’s behalf, which is a protected activity.
Your legal rights are set in stone and you should not be fearful of exercising them. If you feel like you have faced retaliation, seeking some experienced guidance will give you an idea of your options.