Michael Burgis & Associates, P.C.

Your employer should help you, not punish you, after an injury

After a work injury, you should receive medical benefits that cover all the costs of your injury with no co-pay or deductible. If your injury keeps you from working for a significant amount of time, you should also receive temporary disability benefits. Those will replace a portion of your paycheck.

Fear of retaliation is a common concern

Unfortunately, some employers discriminate against workers who suffer injuries on the job. That discrimination can take many forms. If you worry about potential retaliation, that may stop you from seeking the benefits you deserve.

The company could deny that the injury happened on the job site. They could refuse to help you return to work after your disability leave. In some cases, they may even fire you for seeking the benefits you need to make ends meet after an injury.

Simple accommodations can often help injured workers return to the job

If your injury is severe but not debilitating, it may be possible for you to return to the job after some time. However, you may require some basic accommodations from your employer.

Most businesses are flexible when an injured employee returns to work. They might be willing to change your responsibilities to make them more reasonable given your injuries. They could also help you by providing assistive technology or allowing for more frequent breaks.

So long as the accommodations you request do not constitute an unreasonable burden on your employer, they should do everything in their power to help you get back to work. Sadly, some businesses will just refuse to work with you.

In that situation, you may find yourself held to the same performance standards despite your injury. That could lead to multiple write ups or even the loss of your job. You may have legal rights to pursue a claim against your employer for discrimination if they fail to accommodate you after an injury.

Your employer should support you, not fire you or penalize you

No one should lose their job simply for filing a workers' compensation claim or reporting an injury. Unfortunately, not all employers are ethical or in compliance with federal law.

Some have learned from the mistakes of others and will be more subtle than simply firing you outright. They may make your job untenable, adding responsibilities or tasks they know will exacerbate your injury or exceed your current capabilities. You may find yourself facing disciplinary action for issues related to your workplace injury and, therefore, out of your control.

Documentation can help prove discrimination

If you believe that your employer is building a case against you to fire you, document everything that happens. Make sure you submit a request for accommodations or reasonable treatment in writing and retain a copy. Keep a journal of every time your employer penalizes you for an issue related to your injury.

If you do end up losing your job over time, that documentation can help show that the firing related more to your injury and less to your performance. You shouldn't have to worry about retaliation from your employer in the wake of a workplace injury. Standing up for your rights not only protects you, but it protects other people who may work for the company now or in the future.

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