Can My Employer Hold My Work Injury Against Me?
There are very few circumstances where an employee sues his employer. In being eligible for workers compensation, you give up your rights to sue your employer. Even so, work-related injury and workers' compensation often creates a permanent strain in the employee-employer relationship. Yes, it is possible that your employer can hold your work injury against you. Here are some of the possible ways as to how an employer can do so:
As a result of the work injury and compensation, your employer may cite various reasons to terminate you. They may cite breach of contract, unruly behavior, breach of the covenant of good faith and dealing, and many others. Unlike the case in workers compensation for injury, wherein you no longer need to prove that the work-related injury was a result of the employer's negligence, suing your employer for wrongful termination will require strong evidence. You should be able to provide counter-evidence to prove against any of the reason cited by the employer for terminating you.
Another way through which your employer can use your work injury against you is retaliatory actions such as termination, demotion, disciplinary actions, isolation and other threats. Doing these is illegal and the employer will be held accountable for these actions. Even if you might have permanent work restrictions as a direct result of the injury, your employer has the legal responsibility to accommodate you at work.
Contracted and At-Will Employees
Another way through which an employer may hold work injury against you is to use the job contract. If you are a contracted employee, your employer cannot simply terminate you as a way of retaliation. However, if your job contract states that inability to return to work for six months is subject to termination, he can do it. The same is also true in the case of at-will employees. The employer can terminate the job contract by simply citing any reason to do so. However, filing a workers compensation claim would be one of the probable reasons, even if he will not directly say so.
In all of these possible ways as to how your employee can hold your work injury against you, you should consult a paralegal to know and fight for your rights. You generally don't need a lawyer, since workers' compensation is due to you, but you may find paralegal services helpful for understanding the laws that apply to your situation. In case of work-related injury, keep in mind that documentation is important. Try to gather as much evidence as you can (i.e. email, memo, and correspondence) so that you can prove that your stance against unfair termination or discrimination. Paralegals can also help with these difficult parts of your dispute.
Contact paralegal services near you for more information and assistance.