Getting injured at work can cause an inordinate amount of stress and pressure, and when you are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, you have to take into consideration the ramifications – specifically, what actions can or will your employer take against you? If your injury requires a lighter duty than you were hired to perform, and there is no “light duty” position available, your employer may fire you. In a situation like that, especially when you’re a new or young employee, you may not want to file a claim for workers’ compensation, as your doing so may jeopardize not only your future advancement opportunities, but also your more immediate concerns such as how you will pay your rent or mortgage if you lose your job.
On the other hand, what if the injury you sustained at work will take an extended time to heal? What if your injury causes you great pain all day, every day? What price are you willing to pay for leading the normal, healthy lifestyle you have been used to your whole life? In short, it may be necessary for you to consult with and hire an attorney in order to file a workers’ comp claim and seek compensation for your work-related injuries if you ever want to get back to your normal life.
Discrimination and Harassment
If you sustained injuries in an accident at work, and especially if you have voiced your consideration of having to file for workers’ comp, your employer may choose to discriminate against you; this makes a difficult situation even worse. While most employers will try to conceal their true intentions, many still harass employees, making the hours spent at work sometimes feel torturous.
While some employees are allowed to take advantage of certain benefits and options, others may not be afforded the same options due to their race, gender, or sexual orientation, among other things. If you have experienced harassment or discrimination at your place of employment, you might feel uneasy and scared when you have to decide whether to file a complaint; if an employer, boss, manager, or supervisor has already shown their proclivity for harassing you, they may push the envelope even further, eventually leaving you no other option than to find another job and quit.
In Missouri, employees are legally forbidden from harassing, discriminating against, or terminating any employees simply because they have chosen to file a claim for workers’ comp. However, it is incumbent upon the employee to prove the following:
- They were employed at the location before they were injured
- They filed a claim for workers’ comp
- The employer discriminated against and/or terminated the employee
- There is sufficient reason to believe that the employee’s discrimination or termination was a byproduct of their claiming workers’ comp
In most cases, the difficult thing to prove is the employer’s discriminatory reaction to the employee’s filing for workers’ comp. Employers may change schedules, trade workers’ duties, and make any other changes that impact employees’ job satisfaction at any time; their actions may not necessarily have any relation to the workers’ comp claim, but it could. If you are trying to prove that your employer discriminated against you for filing a claim, you should make detailed notes regarding your actions as well as your employer’s, managers’, and supervisors’ reaction to it.
Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law
The Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law states: “No employer or agent shall discharge or in any way discriminate against any employee for exercising any of his rights under this chapter. Any employee who has been discharged or discriminated against shall have a civil action for damages against his employer.” Put in layman’s terms, employers should not, under any circumstance discriminate against employees who exercises their right to workers’ compensation.
If you believe that your employer has broken this law and violated your rights, you can choose to file a lawsuit seeking damages from your employer, but if you decide to do that, you should have an experienced attorney to help you through this very complex legal process. There are a lot of details that you may not think amount to much of anything, but an attorney may see those things differently than you do – even as game changers, likely to help you win your case and get the compensation you deserve.
You should know, however, that workers’ compensation law does not protect you if you have behaved inappropriately after you were injured, for example. Additionally, if you are no longer physically and/or mentally able to perform the job you were hired to do, and there are no other positions available for which you are qualified or able to do, you may lose your job. Your employer is not legally responsible for finding you a job.
If you are trying to seek damages for your losses, you should hire an attorney with plenty of experience in managing cases where an employee was discriminated against, harassed, or fired. Call to schedule an appointment to discuss the details of your case with one of the knowledgeable attorneys with Walton Telken toll free at (844) 307-7349 today. They will tell you about your rights and can answer all your questions, providing you the information you need to make the best decision for you. If you are unable or it causes undue hardship for you, we will gladly come to you to meet and discuss your case; the attorneys here are also willing to take cases on contingency (i.e., they don’t get paid unless and until you do), so you have nothing to lose. Call today.