Tag Archives: work comp claim

Workplace Injury

What to Do if Your Employer is Discouraging Your Claim or Threatening to Fire You

An employer who is stopping or discouraging you from seeking workers’ compensation for a work injury is most likely acting illegally. Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should. Employers have an unavoidable conflict of interest because of how the workman’s compensation system is set up. The more workplace injuries that occur, the more expensive it is going to be for the company.

Simply put, employers don’t want to spend their profits paying for workplace injuries. Even the best of employers find themselves torn between meeting the company’s bottom line and taking care of its employees.

As a result, some employers find themselves illegally avoiding worker’s compensation claims. The proper way to avoid workplace injuries is obviously to prevent them before they happen. Employers should be using safety procedures, investing in safe equipment, and training employees. Problems start to arise, however, when an employer goes too far and uses illegal measures to avoid work comp claims. In Minnesota, employees are protected from discriminatory practices by employers who try to stop or discourage an employee from seeking worker’s compensation benefits. These discriminatory practices by employers fall into three categories:

  • Getting fired because you have requested or are receiving workers’ compensation
  • Threatening to fire because you have requested or are receiving workers’ compensation
  • Intentionally obstructing an employee from requesting workers’ compensation

When an injured employee tells me that he or she has experienced one of the above situations, a huge red flag goes up. To help you understand if your situation falls in one of the above categories, let’s look at each one more in-depth and separately.

Fired/Terminated Because of Work Comp

If you were fired from your job because you applied for or are receiving workman’s compensation benefits, this is a huge red flag.

In Minnesota, workers’ compensation laws make it illegal for an employer to terminate you simply because you are seeking or receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Many employers are aware that they cannot fire an employee in retaliation for seeking or receiving workman’s compensation. However, it still happens.

An employer may fire you and blatantly say it is because of your worker’s compensation claim, but that situation is rare. More commonly, an employer will use a pretextual reason to fire you. They will claim you are being fired for a legitimate reason when they are really just terminating your employment because of your workman’s compensation claim.

Keep in mind though that you are immune from being fired if you are seeking or receiving work comp benefits. Employers can still fire you for other reasons. If you are fired and your employer says you were fired for a non-workers’ compensation related reason, you may still have a case if you think your employer really fired you because of your worker’s compensation claim.

Threatened to Fire/Terminate Because of Worker’s Compensation

This situation is more common than retaliatory termination cases for two reasons.

  1. First, employers may think they can get away with threats more easily than actual firing.
  2. Second, supervisors may not be educated about the seriousness of threatening to fire or terminate an injured employee because of a possible worker’s compensation claim. It is your employer’s responsibility to make sure that its supervisors do not threaten to fire an employee in retaliation for workers’ compensation benefits. Ignorance is not an excuse.

If your employer has threatened to fire you for seeking workman’s compensation, you may have a retaliation claim. A threat to fire can take multiple forms, and usually no two employees have the same experience. An employer who has threatened to fire you in retaliation for a possible workers’ compensation claim is a red flag that requires a thorough assessment of your situation.

Intentionally Obstructing Your Workman’s Compensation Claim

Even more common that actual termination and threaten to fire cases are intentional obstruction cases.

Each case is different because there are so many ways an employer can intentionally obstruct you from getting your work comp benefits. Here are a few examples:

  • Your supervisor tells you that the company cannot afford a workers’ compensation claim, so you cannot file a First Report of Injury or make a claim.
  • Your manager threatens to make your work-life miserable if you report your injury.
  • Your employer cuts your pay if you make a workers’ compensation claim.

Obstruction cases in particular require an investigation by a knowledgeable work comp attorney because of the variety of ways an employer can obstruct workers compensation claims.

Next Steps: Make a Plan of Action

If you have experienced any of these red flags, your relationship with your employer has probably been strained over your workplace injury. It is frustrating and unfair when your employer has stopped fighting for you and instead is fighting against you, especially when you were injured while simply doing your job. Because an on-the-job injury can have long term consequences for your physical and financial well-being, it is important that you fight for your rights now so that you minimize the injury’s negative effects in the future.

If this “red flag” has brought concerns to your attention about your workers’ compensation claim or you believe you are not receiving the workers comp benefits you should be receiving, we encourage you to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling workman’s compensation claims and are available to discuss your case. To speak with an attorney on the workers’ compensation team at Heimerl & Lammers, contact us at 612.294.2200.

Can I be fired for workers compensation?

Can Your Boss Fire You if You Have Filed a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

In 2016, OSHA found nearly 60,000 violations nationwide. Those were just the infractions that were found and acted upon. No one knows how many dangerous workplaces there are all across the United States right now. People get injured and hurt on the job all the time.

Workers get nervous when it comes time to file a workers’ compensation claim, however. Job prospects are not always bright, and it is natural to worry about your future.

What You Need to Consider

Minnesota is what is known as an at-will state. This means that employers can fire a worker at any time for any reason. The boss may think that this gives them freedom to do whatever they want, but this is not the case.

If an employer fires you because you were hurt at work, that could be retaliation. We will return to that topic in a minute, so keep it in mind.

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, an employer must give an honest reason why an employee was fired, if the worker requests that in writing. You should also know that an employer needs to pay the worker for any time that they worked within 20 days of them being fired, according to Minnesota law.

Retaliation

Despite the fact that Minnesota is an at-will state, employers cannot fire someone simply for filing a workers’ compensation claim. That can be considered retaliation. It is illegal. Employers may kick someone out because they do not want to pay more in insurance, or they think that a termination will make the problem go away.

If you have a text message, email, or another form of written communication that explicitly states that you were fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim, then that is all the better for you. In general, it is a good idea to get as much in writing as possible.

Most employers are not going to be honest with you. It is unlikely that they would say someone got fired because their leg was crushed at work. You can prove this in court, with the help of a lawyer. Certain facts, like the timing of the claim, negative comments supervisors made, or any pressure that they applied to you to get you to drop your claim could be crucial in proving your case.

If you successfully prove that your employer retaliated against you, you may be entitled to more compensation, according to the laws of Minnesota.

When you come back to your job, your employer must accommodate you if you are still hurting. If they fail to make the changes that you need, you may be able to sue them.

To answer the question, no, your boss cannot fire you just because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. Not legally, that is.

Call 612 Injured

If you think that an employer has retaliated against you, reach out to a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer. Having an attorney by your side is the only way that you can protect your rights. Call us at 612-Injured today.