As an employee of a business, you are guaranteed certain protections under the law, one of which is that you can receive compensation for work related injuries. Businesses are required to carry insurance to cover workplace injuries, but just like any other form of insurance, if they have to rely on their policy, their rates will go up. Most business owners realize this is just the cost of doing business, while a small minority unfairly take their annoyance of having to pay more for insurance out on the employee who suffered the injury.
Employers can take retaliatory action against an injured employee in a number of different ways. They can cut their hours, they can schedule them during inconvenient shifts or they can even let them go, but it’s important to know that these retaliatory actions are actually against the law. If you or someone you know has been retaliated against because they sought out compensation, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today.
Unlawful Retaliation in Minnesota
Minnesota statute 176.82 lays out the law when it comes to an employee’s rights should they face repercussions from their employer for filing for injury benefits. The law states:
“Any person discharging or threatening to discharge an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits or in any manner intentionally obstructing an employee seeking workers’ compensation benefits is liable in a civil action for damages incurred by the employee including any diminution in workers’ compensation benefits caused by a violation of this section, including costs and reasonable attorney fees, and for punitive damages not to exceed three times the amount of any compensation benefit to which the employee is entitled. Damages awarded under this section shall not be offset by any workers’ compensation benefits to which the employee is entitled.”
As you can see, not only is action against an injured employee illegal, but even threatening action can lead to a civil claim against the employer. The law goes on to state that when possible, employers must accommodate injured employees, otherwise they again open themselves up to litigation.
“An employer who, without reasonable cause, refuses to offer continued employment to its employee when employment is available within the employee’s physical limitations shall be liable in a civil action for one year’s wages. The wages are payable from the date of the refusal to offer continued employment, and at the same time and at the same rate as the employee’s preinjury wage, to continue during the period of the refusal up to a maximum of $15,000. This subdivision shall not apply to employers who employ 15 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.”
Essentially, if you can work, even if it is in a different qualified position while accounting for your restrictions, and the company refuses to allow you to work, they can face civil penalties.
In either instance, it is going to be in your best interest to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you with your injury case or action against your employer. No employer is going to admit to taking retaliatory action against an employee. They are going to try to justify your termination or reduced hours for varying reasons. They may claim that you missed too many days of work, that you failed to follow your doctor’s orders, or that you were unwilling to accept work they had for you. They are going to put up a fight and try to negate their liability, so you need to have a lawyer on your side to prove that you are in the right.
Dean and his team have helped a number of individuals fight back against the retaliatory actions of their employer, and we can do the same for you. If you feel that your employer is treating you unfairly or has suggested it wouldn’t be in your best interest to pursue an injury suit, you need to find legal representation right away. In the greater Twin Cities area, turn to Dean Margolis for that help. Contact our office today for more information.