Unless you fall under a specific exception, you have the right to pursue a workers' compensation claim after you get hurt at work. Unfortunately, some employers are hostile to injured workers. Your employer may take your injury or filing of a claim as a threat. If this is the case, your employer may take negative employment action against you.
It is unlawful for your employer to retaliate against you for getting a workplace injury or seeking workers' compensation benefits for it. If your employer retaliates against you, you may be able to take legal action. Here are some important things to know about the workplace protections you have under Florida law.
The law is clear
Florida statute 440.205 is explicit. It says that your employer shall not fire, threaten to fire, coerce or intimidate you for seeking benefits under the workers' compensation law. The straightforward language in this statute is easy to understand. This law exists to ensure workers can get back to work, which is in the best interests of both workers and employers. There is also case law that strengthens worker protections, particularly the decision in Bruner v. GC-GW, Inc.
How to prove retaliation
There are three main points you must be able to prove in order to file a claim of retaliation or wrongful termination:
- You took a protected action, such as reporting an injury or filing for workers' compensation
- Your employer took an adverse action against you, such as terminating or demoting you
- The protected action you took is the reason for the adverse employment action
It is vital to have evidence of a causal relationship. Your employer may try to claim that any negative employment action is because of another reason, such as poor job performance. But it is possible to disprove these claims if you have enough evidence, such as witness statements or workplace documents.