Getting injured at work is a frustrating process. You have to deal with filing a claim, you have to miss time from work, and odds are you’re dealing with pain. A workers’ compensation claim is also somewhat burdensome for an employer, and unfortunately, sometimes employers try to avoid the situation altogether by pressuring the employee against filing a claim. Not only is that shady, it’s actually illegal. Here’s a look at your protections against workers’ compensation harassment in Minnesota.
Pressure From Employer Not To File
It may be inconvenient for your employer to deal with a workers’ compensation claim, but it’s something that comes with the territory. Employers can pressure or sometimes even threaten their employees with consequences should they file a claim, but it’s important to note that this is illegal. Any instances should be documented and explained to your workers’ compensation attorney.
Pressure can come in a variety of forms, but the most common involves an employer attempting to convince you not to file a claim. This could simply be with words, or it could come in the form of letting you take the rest of the day off and “shake it off tomorrow.” You need to remember that you are entitled to file a claim, regardless of their wishes or your employer letting you take some time off with the injury.
Forms of Harassment
Other forms of harassment can be more subtle or even more direct. Some ways employers can harass and threaten their employees over filing a claim include:
- Preventing Advancement Opportunities – If your boss says something along the lines of “Well we can’t promote someone who is injured,” or if you can prove you were denied an advancement opportunity because you filed a workers’ comp claim, you can take additional action against your employer.
- Suspension/Demotion/Termination – If you are suspended, demoted or terminated because you filed a work comp claim, or your employer threatens you with these actions if you file a claim, you likely have a valid harassment claim.
- Pay Reduction – Everyone wants to be fairly compensated whether they are hurt or not, but some employers use a work injury as a way to restrict or reduce payment. Again, they can also threaten you with payment reduction for it to constitute harassment.
- Hour Restrictions – This is similar to a demotion, but it deserves its own category. For example, let’s say a waitress who averages 30 hours a week suffers an injury at work and files a claim. Upset that he has to hire and train another waitress, the manager tells the waitress that she needs to work through the injury or her hours will be cut. In this scenario, the employee may have a case for harassment.
So while it’s clear that it is illegal to harass or suggest that an employee would be better off if they didn’t file a claim, thousands of employees are harassed by their employers over a work injury every year. If you’ve run into any of the above situation when filing your injury claim, it is imperative that you speak to a workers’ compensation attorney.
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