Construction workers can suffer injuries from a fall or malfunctioning equipment. Office workers can suffer back strain or carpal tunnel syndrome. Any employee in any profession might suffer an injury that leaves them unable to perform their job duties for a time. If this happens to you, you might feel somewhat hesitant to file for workers’ compensation for fear of losing your job or suffering other retaliatory measures if you do. Can your employer do that?
What the law says
The statute that established the workers’ compensation program in Florida is very thorough when it comes to limitations on an employer’s conduct. The statute specifically states that it is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee for the sole reason that they filed a workers’ compensation claim.
But the protections for employees don’t end there. Not only can employers not fire you for filing for workers’ compensation, but they also cannot discipline you in other ways.
Examples of disciplinary measures that employers can’t take in response to a workers’ compensation claim include demoting you, lowering or docking your pay, and modifying your duties for the purpose of punishing you.
Your options if your employer retaliates
Your employer’s retaliation could come in the form of laying you off, but it could also come by other, more subtle means. If you suspect that you are being discriminated against or punished due to your decision to file for workers’ compensation benefits, you have the option of bringing a retaliatory discharge lawsuit.
In this lawsuit, your attorney will attempt to prove that your employer’s decision to fire you was based on your workers’ compensation claim. Your employer will likely try to prove that their decision to fire you was based on different, legally permissible reasons.
No one relishes the idea of going to court and fighting a lawsuit. But sometimes, a lawsuit is the only way to vindicate your rights when your employer infringes them out of revenge.