It has come to our attention that sometimes injured workers in Springfield, Missouri don't apply for the benefits they are entitled to under Missouri's Workers' Compensation Act because they are afraid their employer will retaliate against them. Unfortunately, this fear is not unfounded. It is not easy for an employer to get away with retaliatory discharge - meaning firing the worker after he or she reports a work-related injury, which does happen occasionally. However, there are many other types of retaliation that are much more common and not nearly as easy to prove.
Retaliation against a worker for filing a workers' compensation claim is illegal in Springfield and anywhere else in Missouri, but it still happens. The Missouri Workers' Compensation Law, section 287.780, clearly states: "No employer or agent shall discharge or in any way discriminate against any employee for exercising any of his rights under this chapter." It goes on to explain that any worker who has been either fired or retaliated against in any way has grounds for a lawsuit against his employer.
Obviously, this does not guarantee that a worker will keep his or her job. If, after finishing all available medical treatment for your injuries, you are still unable to perform your job, your employer is not required to keep you on staff (or even try to find you another position). And it's possible that you could be terminated for other reasons, having nothing to do with your workers' comp claim.
Employer or manager retaliation may show up in any of the following types of discrimination or harassment:
• Unwarranted poor performance review
• Scheduling issues
• Isolation or intimidation
• Demotion, reassignment, reclassification or transfer
• Threatened adverse wage action
• Interference with or dispute of a legitimate workers' compensation claim
• Unreasonable increase or decrease in job duties
• Unjustified disciplinary action
There have also been instances of employer retaliation against employees who testify in support of a co-workers claim - which is illegal as well.
The motivation for this retaliation is usually financial in nature, since the filing of workers' comp claims drives up employers' insurance premiums. It may also be an attempt to deter other workers from filing claims for injuries, particularly if the employer is guilty of safety violations that he or she does not want uncovered.
If you have been the victim of employer retaliation after filing a Springfield workers' comp claim, you will require the services of a workers' compensation lawyer. The first order of business will be to make sure that you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to. If your employer or insurance carrier are stalling or hindering your claim in any way, always consult an attorney. At that point, your lawyer will then examine the circumstances and determine if there are grounds for a civil suit for financial damages as well.
Call the Missouri workers comp lawyers at Aaron Sachs and Associates for a free assessment of your case. We have five offices statewide for your convenience: we represent injured workers in Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, Cape Girardeau, Kansas City, and the surrounding areas. Call 1-888-777-AUTO to schedule an appointment.Attorney meetings by appointment only