Employees who are injured at their workplace or who suffer a work-related injury have the right to collect workers’ compensation benefits and be free from workers’ compensation retaliation. Our employment attorneys are committed to helping employees protect their rights when they seek workers’ compensation benefits and fight against retaliation for filing a claim.
Minnesota law requires that work-related injuries are covered under the state’s workers’ compensation insurance system. When employees seek benefits, the law provides that employees are not to be retaliated against for filing a claim. Unfortunately, for some employees, reporting an injury or filing a workers’ compensation claim can result in additional stress and problems resulting from employer retaliation or interference with the claim. For some, job loss, demotion, loss of hours, harassment or other penalties can follow the report of a work injury.
What is covered by workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation should cover any medical expenses, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation and/or continued benefits for any permanent damage related to your injury. As long as your injury or illness was work-related or occurred while performing work duties, you should have no problem filing and collecting your benefits.
What if the work-related injury was my fault?
Workers’ compensation benefits may be available regardless of whether fault is assignable to the employee or employer. Under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law, all employers must provide and pay for workers’ compensation insurance or be self-insured providing the same benefits as the state plan.
It is your responsibility to report an injury to your supervisor, manager or person designated to receive such reports at your workplace as soon as possible. After reporting your injury, the workers’ compensation benefit process begins. Next, your employer must complete a “First Report of Injury” form and provide you with a copy of the form. An employer must also provide you with the “Minnesota Workers’ Compensation System Employee Information Sheet” when it provides you with the First Report of Injury form. After this, the insurer will often investigate the claim. It is your responsibility to keep your employer informed as to your medical condition and coordinate with them regarding any work restrictions you may have as a result of the injury. Your employer is obligated to assist you in the initial reporting of your injury and in working with you and/or your doctors to get you back to work as soon as medically and physically possible.
Can my employer fire me for filing for workers’ compensation?
Many injured workers hesitate from filing claims because they are concerned about the backlash or retaliation from an employer. Remember that under Minnesota law, employers are prohibited from discharging an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim, or taking other adverse actions against the employee, because of their work-related injury. In other words, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who exercises their rights under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law. It is also illegal for an employer to intentionally obstruct a worker’s right to report on-the-job injuries and seek benefits.
What is workers’ compensation retaliation?
While recovering from an injury, many employees will need to go on light duty or request other work restrictions from their employer. While many employers work earnestly with their injured employee during this process, some employers become annoyed with having to accommodate work restrictions and begin to treat the injured employee differently than they did prior to the injury. Also, because some companies are self-insured for workers’ compensation claims, the costs of covering a claim can create hostility toward the employee.
What are examples of workers’ compensation retaliation?
Any retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim is illegal and should be addressed by an experienced Minnesota employment law attorney. In addition to your underlying workers’ compensation claim, you may be entitled to compensation for retaliation or obstruction and related losses. The following constitutes illegal and unlawful retaliation or obstruction by an employer:
- Firing or laying off
- Denying overtime or promotion
- Disciplinary actions
- Denying benefits
- Failing to hire or rehire
- Reassignment affecting promotion prospects
- Reducing pay or hours
- Telling the employee they cannot go to a doctor or hospital
- Refusing to or failing to provide a First Report of Injury Form
Contact Our Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
The workers’ compensation retaliation attorneys at Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP have litigated countless cases where an employee has been retaliated against for exercising their rights under Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law. Our attorneys have received favorable jury verdicts, negotiated settlements and otherwise successfully resolved claims for clients with workers’ compensation retaliation claims.
If you are experiencing retaliation in the workplace after filing a workers’ compensation claim, or if you have been terminated as a result of asserting the benefits due to you under the workers’ compensation law, contact one of our employment attorneys to discuss your potential case. When you contact us, you will speak directly with one of our employment retaliation attorneys.