Even though a worker injured on the job has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer, the reality is that many employees may hesitate to do so. This is because they are afraid they might lose their job as a result. Already an employee is struggling their injury, with taking time off of work and either losing out on a project or promotion to someone else who-add to this the anxiety of a workers’ compensation claim and an injured employee is likely to balk.
There is no federal law prevent an employer from retaliating against an employee, but Massachusetts is one of the states that does have this protection. This means employers are prohibited from retaliating against a worker who has filed a workers’ compensation claim. Retaliation can take many forms and does not only include termination-it could be giving an employee a bad review, intimidation in the workplace or a negative reassignment.
As per the law in the state, an employer or their authorized agent cannot discharge or refuse to hire someone because the employee has exercised their rights under the workers’ compensation system afforded by the state. Additionally, the law protects from discrimination of any form. The law also protects someone who has participated in an inquiry or proceeding related to workers’ compensation claims. If an employer does so, they can be liable to the employee in lost wages and shall grant the employee suitable employment and also reimburse reasonable attorney fees, if applicable. Additionally, the court can grant whatever relief it finds fit.
Getting injured in a workplace accident is traumatic enough and topping it off with fears of retaliation can be even more overwhelming. However, it can help having an experienced professional by one’s side who knows the ins and outs of the law and how to protect one’s rights.