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Can My Employer Retaliate Against Me for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Many Virginia workers (and workers in other parts of the country) suffer from a seemingly-real fear: The fear of retaliation from their employers. These workers worry that if they take certain actions or assert legal rights that their employers will take negative actions against them. For this reason, some workers who are injured or who become ill while on the job refuse to file a worker’s compensation claim and seek benefits. Are these fears legitimate? More importantly, if an employer retaliates against an injured worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim, what can the worker do?

Retaliation in its Many Forms

Retaliation does not always mean firing or termination of employment (although certainly firing an employee or terminating their employment as a result of the employee taking a particular action is retaliatory in nature). Retaliation can encompass a wide variety of employment-related actions, including:

  • Demoting the person to a lower position;
  • Denying a promotion that the person would have otherwise been entitled to have;
  • Reducing the pay of the person or denying that person a benefit or bonus that he or she would have otherwise been entitled to;
  • Exposing that person to ridicule or disrepute amongst his or her coworkers and other employees;
  • Treating the person differently (in a negative way) solely because he or she filed a workers’ compensation claim.

To make matters worse, retaliatory actions are often not documented very well. In other words, employers do not come to the worker and say they are taking this action or that action because the worker filed for workers’ compensation benefits. The worker is often given some other reason for the negative treatment, meaning it is up to the worker to uncover the true reason for his or her termination and the evidence necessary to prove it.

Employers May Not Retaliate Against Workers for Filing Workers’ Compensation Claims

The law is clear: An employer may not lawfully retaliate against a worker who has filed for workers’ compensation benefits following a workplace accident. Nor can the employer attempt to dissuade or prevent the employee from filing for workers’ compensation benefits (for example, the employer cannot promise to give the worker a bonus if the worker does not file for workers’ compensation benefits). Employers who do so may be required to pay the aggrieved worker back pay, reinstate his or her employment, or pay other damages or compensation. 

Help for Injured Virginia Workers is Just a Phone Call Away

Hampton Injury Law assists injured workers file claims for workers’ compensation benefits and obtain the financial assistance they need and deserve. We will make certain that you understand your legal rights to workers’ compensation benefits and can assist you in taking action to assert these rights. If you have been injured on the job, contact Hampton Injury Law right away for fast and professional assistance. Call our office at (757) 838-1173 or contact us online.

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