Hurt at Work? How To STOP Harassment and Keep Your Job!

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January 29  

Harassment At Work

We're going to talk about whether your employer can harass or fire you if you got hurt at work.

You are supposed to be able to be heard at work. File a worker's comp claim without being harassed or without your job being threatened. That's the law. But we all know things don't always work according to the law. If people think they can get away with doing more or less as the case may be.

Sometimes employers do try to harass or fire injured people after an on-the-job injury. So what can they get away with and what isn't allowed? Let's talk about harassment first.

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The Type Of Harassment

The first thing to consider is, what sort of harassment are we talking about? Are they just not being nice to you or giving you the silent treatment or the cold shoulder? If that's the case that's actually pretty normal. Things usually return to the way they used to be within a couple of weeks of your returning to work after an on-the-job injury. It's common, especially at a smaller company for the employer or the supervisors to be a little bit mad at you for filing a worker's comp case. Usually things settle down.

Against The Law

However, if by harassment, you mean being physically or verbally assaulted or abused. That's another matter all-together. That sort of harassment may actually violate the law. If you're a union employee or there's a contract in place, or they discriminate against you by sending you home, not giving you hours to work, or not offering you access to overtime hours. Those actions are harassment where you may be able to sue the company to stop them from doing it.

Most companies know that it's against the law, so they don't do it, so it's pretty rare. If your company's cutting your hours or not offering you overtime or laying you off and you can prove it, you should talk to somebody about filing a lawsuit. Because that behavior is definitely harassment that violates the law.

Retaliatory Discharge

So let's talk about being fired in retaliation for filing a worker's comp case or being hurt at work. Firing an employee who got hurt at work and filed a worker's comp case is definitely in violation of federal law. Simply it's against the law to fire an employee just because they got hurt at work and decided to protect their rights in a way that the Illinois workers comp Act allows them to do. You can't do that.

It is perfectly legal for you to file a worker's comp claim and you can't be penalized for doing it. But even though the principle of retaliatory discharge is open-and-shut and easy to understand.

A Complicated Area Of Law

There are plenty of wrinkles in retaliatory discharge cases that say this is or this is not retaliatory discharge. It's actually a pretty complicated area of the law.

For example, your case at the Commission at the Workers Compensation Commission actually has to be filed before they fire you. Otherwise you can't have a retaliatory discharge claim. Even if they create some false pretext for firing you, that's not going to immunize them from a big judgment against the employer. Courts and judges see right through that.

A Big Judgement

If they're really firing you for filing a worker's comp claim, but they make something up and we can prove it, you might be in line for a large judgment against them for retaliatory discharge. And employers are not allowed to makeup an excuse like that.

Since employers know they are on the line for a big judgment if they do that, these days they often don't do that. They're very careful about documenting why somebody's being let go. These days they rarely fire somebody for filing a worker's comp case.

However, if they do and if you can prove it, if there's evidence of it, we can really hold your employer accountable. No matter what, an employer is not supposed to fire an injured employee just because they got hurt on the job.

I really hope this information helps you if there's anything I can do or if you have a question message me or call my office. I'm happy to talk to you for free and see if there's anything I can do to help you.

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About the author - Scott D. DeSalvo

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