How To Spot Employer Retaliation After Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim
Connecticut law extends workers’ compensation coverage to almost all employees within the state (it requires nearly all employers to have coverage). However, not all employers recognize that workers have the right to file for these benefits. It is all too common for an employer to take action against an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim, despite this behavior being unethical and illegal. If you suspect that this has happened in your case, it may be a good idea to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Essentially, filing a legitimate claim for workers’ compensation benefits is classified as protected activity, under both Connecticut and federal equal employment opportunity laws. Retaliation for engaging in a protected activity is unlawful, though this does not, unfortunately, stop some employers from behaving in such a fashion. Workers’ compensation claims are expensive and no business wants to see their insurance rates go up, but denying workers justified benefits is not an acceptable way to keep costs low.
There are quite a lot of misconceptions about retaliation, especially when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. Connecticut is an at-will state, which means that either an employee or an employer can end the relationship at any time, for any reason, at least in theory. If an employer has a valid reason for terminating an employee, regardless of their workers’ compensation claim, it will generally be honored. However, “any reason” does not include actions that are against the law, and retaliatory behavior is in violation of several laws, both state and federal.
Another misconception is that retaliation must equal wrongful termination. In reality, Connecticut law holds that any negative employment action that can be related back to your workers’ compensation claim may qualify as retaliatory. For example, if you are injured on the job and file a workers’ compensation claim, your boss must allow you to return (if possible) at either your old job, or a job of comparable position. If that does not happen, it may be for retaliatory reasons.
This does not mean that every unwelcome move at work will qualify as a negative employment action. If you are, for example, transferred to another shift, but your employer can show that they need more people with your expertise to work those hours, the move will not be considered retaliatory. In general, one must be able to establish causation – that is, to argue that such a move is directly linked to the workers’ compensation claim they filed – in order to potentially prevail in a retaliation suit.
Contact A Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured on the job, workers’ compensation can help keep your family afloat during your recovery time. However, some employers will engage in unethical or unlawful behavior to keep their costs down, and it can deprive you of what you deserve if you do not know the warning signs. If you have questions about your situation, a Stratford workers’ compensation attorney from the Morizio Law Firm may be able to assist you. We are happy to put our years of experience to work for you. Call our offices at 475-338-3505 for a free consultation.