Can My Boss Fire Me For Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Georgia?
The short answer is NO, although you may be intimidated or worried about retaliation if you need to file a workers’ compensation claim, there are a few things you should know if you have been injured in the course of doing your job. When you have had a work-related injury, you should worry first about getting treated and recovered; if your injury results in medical bills, you should be allowed to collect workers’ compensation in order to cover your costs – after all, you were just doing your job.
However, if you are one of the people who fear employer retaliation for filing for workers’ compensation benefits, you are not alone; many people feel that their employer may punish or fire them for trying to claim benefits.
Georgia Law Regarding Employer Retaliation
In Georgia, employers cannot retaliate against or fire any of their employees for filing workers’ compensation claims. Did you know that almost all employees have a right to file for workers’ compensation benefits? If you are injured on the job in Atlanta, Georgia and you fear retaliation from your employer, you can talk to an experienced, knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney at The Bader Law Firm.
What Is ‘Retaliation’?
Your employer may be upset that you have asked for compensation for your work-related injuries for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the fact that they simply don’t want to spend the extra money. In order to punish you for asking for money, your employer might try to retaliate against you; the list below will give you an idea of the kind of harassment or discriminatory behaviors intended to make your work life a little (or a lot) more uncomfortable. Here are some ways an employer may retaliate:
- Changing your position and assigned tasks and responsibilities for no reason
- Cutting your pay or benefits
- Demoting you
- Changing your shifts or hours
- Giving you bad references or negative performance evaluations
- Disciplining you without any adequate reason for doing so
- Denying you promotion(s)
Defining or pinpointing exactly which behaviors or treatment your employer uses as retaliation can be tricky because those things may or may not be warranted or related to your filing the workers’ compensation claim. For example, tasks and responsibilities can change depending on the company’s needs – if those things change, it could have nothing to do with your claim; if you fail to get that promotion you’ve been gunning for, it could be that someone else performs better than you, or someone else interviewed better than you.
Additionally, in order for an action to be deemed retaliatory, you would need to know that the reason for the action was to scare or intimidate you so that you don’t feel safe or secure enough to voice your wants and needs. Workers’ compensation is your right; stand up to get what you deserve.
What If Your Employer Retaliates Against You?
Although employers are forbidden from firing or retaliating against injured employees who decide to file for workers’ compensation, Georgia law does not say anything about firing or retaliating against workers who are getting those benefits. The extremely strong at-will statute in Georgia empowers the employer to terminate any employees who don’t have employment contracts.
Anyone can understand, then, why injured workers might be mentally torn as to whether or not to report an injury to their employer, as doing so may have negative consequences. If, in the course of performing your job duties, you were injured, you may wish to consider filing a claim for workers’ compensation. If you decide to file, your employer must pay any and provide all required benefits, but you could still lose your job. So if you worry that your employer may harass you or discriminate against you for the injuries you sustained while you were doing your job, you should call to talk to the workers’ compensation attorneys at The Bader Law Firm today.
Call The Bader Law Firm at 678-562-5595 to discuss the details of your case; the consultation is free, and we can tell you about your rights and you can decide what route or options might work best for you in this case given your current circumstances.