Workers’ Comp Retaliation Massachusetts
Workers’ compensation is a benefit all employees must lawfully receive in Massachusetts. Every employer in the state must purchase workers’ comp insurance to provide no-fault benefits to employees in the event of an occupational illness, injury or death. If you suffer a work-related injury or illness, you have the right to seek workers’ comp benefits without fear of retaliation. Should your employer retaliate against you for filing a workers’ comp claim, you could have a civil case against the company.
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What Is Workers’ Comp Retaliation?
Workers’ comp retaliation is the punishment or mistreatment of an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim after a workplace accident. It is illegal for an employer to penalize or fire an employee simply for reporting a workplace accident or filing an insurance claim. Every employee in Massachusetts has the legal right to come forward with reports of occupational injuries or illnesses without fear of retaliation.
It is also against the law for an employer to retaliate against a worker for reporting workplace hazards. If an employee notices a hazard, defect or code violation in the work environment, he or she may report the issue to the employer and/or a federal safety organization without facing any penalties. You may, for example, file a code violation claim against your employer with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration without worrying about losing your job or suffering a demotion. If you do face retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you could file a lawsuit against your employer.
Common Forms of Retaliation
Retaliation can refer to any adverse employment decision meant to punish the employee for exercising his or her rights. Workers’ comp retaliation is any punishment for filing a workers’ compensation insurance claim. Retaliation can take many forms. If you faced any negative employment outcomes after filing a workers’ compensation claim with your employer’s insurance provider in Massachusetts, you may have a retaliation case.
- Wage reduction
- Work schedule changes
- Removal from special projects
- Exclusion from group meetings
- Discrimination or harassment
- Negative performance review
- Refusal to write a recommendation letter
- Job termination
- Other punishments or penalties
An employer may have the right to fire you or take other measures if he or she has a legal reason to do so. It is not retaliation, for example, for an employer to replace you while you are in recovery and cannot perform the duties of your job even with reasonable accommodations. The employer must, however, give you preference over other applicants when you can return to work and apply for a job for which you are qualified. It is always illegal for your employer to take certain actions against you, such as harassment or discrimination, with or without a workers’ comp claim.
What Can You Do About Workers’ Comp Retaliation?
Workers’ compensation retaliation is a complex area of law. If you are not sure whether the actions your employer took against you qualify as retaliation, speak to a workers’ comp retaliation lawyer in Massachusetts. An attorney will have the experience to be able to recognize retaliation in its many forms. Once a lawyer has confirmed the presence of retaliation in your workers’ compensation claim, you may proceed with a civil suit against your employer.
You do not have to suffer workers’ compensation retaliation in silence. Use a workers’ comp attorney to help you go up against your employer in a retaliation lawsuit. A civil suit that proves you faced retaliation after filing a workers’ comp injury claim in Massachusetts could end in financial recovery for your losses. You could receive additional compensation for any retaliation-related missed wages, lost earning opportunities and/or noneconomic damages (e.g. humiliation, mental suffering or emotional distress). You may also receive job reinstatement and backpay if you faced job termination after filing a workers’ compensation claim.