Getting injured on the job is not a pleasant experience for anyone involved. It puts an employee temporarily or permanently out of work and creates paperwork and costs for employers. These inconveniences, however, never justify an employer taking retaliatory action against an injured worker. Threatening an injured worker with job loss or actually firing them for making a workers' compensation claim are illegal actions.
The state of Minnesota takes a tough stand against such employer practices, and employees should know that they have the support of the state and Minneapolis workers' compensation attorneys behind them as they report a workplace injury.
Virtually all employers must carry workers' compensation insurance to provide benefits to employees who are injured or become ill while on the job. Employees have 14 days to report an injury, but it is the employer's legal responsibility to file a workers' compensation claim on behalf of its employees. If an employer fails to do so, the injured employee can call the Department of Labor and Industry to report the employer and the department will contact the employer to ensure the workers' comp claim is made.
Unfortunately, unscrupulous employers do exist. Sometimes, an employer will try to bully an employee out of formally reporting an injury, threatening termination of employment or other retaliatory actions. Some employers may actually make good on their threats.
Rest assured that this is not legal in Minnesota and there are consequences for these actions. If an injured employee has been fired from his or her job due to reporting a workplace injury, he or she should call a workers' compensation attorney immediately to take advantage of the rights granted to an employee under Minnesota law.
Holding Employers Accountable for Work Comp Retaliation
According to Minnesota statute 176.82, it is unlawful for an employer to fire someone for seeking worker's compensation benefits for a workplace injury and to bar an injured employee from coming back to work once he or she has recovered. The former, known as retaliatory discharge, carries heavy penalties.
Employers are liable for damages that include the amount of workers' compensation benefits that would have been provided had the claim been filed, attorney's fees, and punitive damages of up to three times the workers' compensation benefit. All compensation is in addition to any workers' compensation benefits awarded. Refusing to offer employment to an injured employee is also illegal, and employers of more than 15 people can be held liable for a year's worth of the employee's wages.
If you or a loved one have been fired or threatened with termination because you have sought workers' compensation benefits, rest assured that Minnesota law is on your side and that hiring an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you seek the damages you are entitled to under the law.