Our firm frequently receives calls from injured workers who want to file for workers’ compensation in Atlanta, but who are extremely apprehensive about employer retaliation. They fear that they’ll get fired if they file a claim or report their injuries. We have witnessed workers whose employers gave them light duty after their injury, but slowly moved them to more strenuous work. The employees then wonder whether or not they should quit because their bodies just can’t handle the strain.
While there are always some risks when dealing with self-serving employers, the law does provide injured workers a degree of protection from employer retaliation.
Worker and Employer Rights in Georgia
Georgia is an at-will employment state. This means that employers can fire workers at any time, for any reason, and without notice. They also can do things such as change the pay rate or reduce or cease benefits at will. Likewise, employees in an at-will employment state have the right to quit whenever they want, without cause and without notice.
Naturally, workers who’ve been hurt on the job fear that the employer will fire them (because they have the right to) if they file a workers’ compensation claim. The law provides protection for this situation, however. Employers are not permitted to retaliate against workers when they take a legally protected action, such as filing for workers’ compensation. In other words, because of anti-retaliation provisions, your employer is not allowed to fire you simply because you file for workers’ compensation.
Examples of Employer Retaliation After a Work Injury
If the employer fires or mistreats you after you file for workers’ compensation, you should speak to an Atlanta attorney about filing a retaliation claim. The courts will examine the surrounding circumstances to see if there is a link between your termination and your workers’ compensation claim.
For example, if the court finds any the following, it’s possibly a verifiable case of employer retaliation:
- The employer fired you shortly after you filed a claim;
- Management made some kind of comment that showed retaliatory intent, e.g., “We shouldn’t have to pay for Bob’s accident. He’s clumsy, and it was his fault anyway. We’ll fix that!”; or
- You had an excellent track record and were a good employee. You did nothing to require disciplinary action yet were fired suddenly.
Contact Bader Law Firm, LLC about Workers’ Compensation Retaliation
Employers may not be allowed to fire you because you file for workers’ compensation, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to come up with other excuses for termination. If you are fearful about losing your job or being treated poorly because of your injury, we encourage you to contact Bader Law Firm, LLC, for help. In our experience, employers are far less likely to fire a worker when he or she has an attorney. Contact us today at 678-562-5595 for a free consultation.