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After a workplace injury or illness, you have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits without retaliation or harassment from your employer. Employers in California are required by law to provide employees with access to workers’ compensation coverage. When they discriminate against you for taking advantage of your right to compensation, they are committing a crime.
Most of the time, workers’ compensation will be filed simply and easily with the full cooperation of an employer. Some employers looking to minimize their losses after an accident, however, may try to take action to keep an employee from maintaining gainful employment. Rumors of unethical practices may prevent some employees from filing for workers’ compensation in the first place. You should never be afraid of filing for workers’ compensation to help you recover from a job-related illness or injury.
Common Forms of Discrimination
Workers’ compensation discrimination can take many forms, from subtly removing responsibilities from the injured employee to finding a reason to prevent the employee from coming back to work at all. Here are some common forms of discrimination cited in lawsuits against employers:
Any other act that can be linked to a workers’ compensation claim may be considered employee discrimination. If the way your employer treats you starts to change as soon as you file for workers’ compensation, you should consider consulting an attorney to learn more about your rights as an employee and the options you have for taking action against unethical behavior.
Your workers’ compensation attorney will fully investigate your case. Many cases arise from unfair termination after employees return to the job. The history of your company, other terminations, and workers’ compensation cases will all be evaluated to determine if there is discrimination.
It’s important to note that employers still have the ability to act against an employee with reason. After a workers’ compensation claim, employees who fail to perform or show poor attendance records may be demoted, transferred, or legally fired.
What to Do if You Suspect Discrimination
If you suspect discrimination, do not show anger or say anything that could be misconstrued if a lawsuit goes to court. Talk with an attorney as soon as possible. You may need other employees to serve as witnesses to the behavior. Try to document any letters, conversations, or situations that may prove to be discrimination.
Possible actions against your employer may include a case in a workers’ compensation forum as well as a lawsuit for general employee discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Through a workers’ compensation forum, you may be entitled to receive as much as 50% more compensation or $10,000 if you can prove discrimination.
Don’t be afraid to speak out if you suspect you or your coworker is being discriminated against in a workers’ compensation claim. Every employee has a right to receive compensation for work-related injuries and illness, and discrimination will not be tolerated in the courts. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo can help you determine how to move forward with a discrimination case against your employer.
Taking action will not only improve the working environment for other employees just like you, but will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve to move forward after an accident. Please let us know today if you suspect discrimination in your workers’ compensation case.