Frustrated manufacturing worker

What Should I Do If My Employer Retaliates Against Me for Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim?

Retaliation in the workplace can often be a subtle yet insidious response to an employee's workers' compensation claim. It's a form of pushback that employers may exhibit when they feel aggrieved by an employee's action to seek rightful benefits. Examples of retaliation include demotion, pay cuts, job or shift reassignments, reduced hours, or even unjust termination. These actions can create a hostile work environment and are illegal when they are a direct response to an employee exercising their legal rights, such as filing for workers' compensation.

Legal Protections Against Retaliation

Fortunately, employees are not defenseless against such employer retaliation. There are robust federal and state laws in place that offer protection. The Workers' Compensation Act, for instance, is a safety net ensuring that employees who file for workers' compensation cannot be legally penalized for doing so. Additionally, anti-discrimination laws provide a shield against unfair treatment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. These laws collectively create a legal fortress safeguarding employees' rights.

Immediate Steps to Take After Experiencing Retaliation

Documenting the Retaliation

When faced with retaliation, the power of documentation cannot be overstated. It's imperative to keep meticulous records of any retaliatory actions, noting dates, times, and the presence of witnesses. This documentation serves as concrete evidence that can support your case should legal action become necessary. Whether it's saving emails, recording meetings (where legally permissible), or keeping a journal of events, these records can be the foundation of your defense.

Reporting to the Appropriate Authorities

Reporting the retaliation is just as crucial as documenting it. The first port of call is often the HR department, where formal complaints can be lodged. If the retaliation persists or if the HR department is complicit, it may be necessary to escalate the matter to external entities such as union representatives or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These organizations can offer guidance and, if necessary, intervene on your behalf.

If you're in Burlington, IA, and are dealing with employer retaliation or have questions about your workers' compensation rights, contact Pothitakis Law Firm today. Our experienced team is dedicated to helping you navigate these challenges and secure the benefits and protections you're entitled to.