According to the U.S. Department of Labor, over 1,000 workers’ compensation claimswere filed in Oklahoma in the first 10 months of the year. The workers who filed these claims are exercising their right to obtain compensation for their workplace injuries. But, should they worry about being retaliated against by their employer when they return to work?
What is Retaliation?
Retaliation occurs when an employer punishes employees for their decision to exercise their rights in the workplace. In this case, retaliation refers to negative actions taken against employees who have filed workers’ compensation claims.
Retaliation can take on many forms. Firing an employee, reassigning him to a different position, or taking away some of his responsibilities are all examples of retaliation. Other examples include physically or verbally threatening an employee, spreading false rumors, or making the employee’s work conditions unbearable in an attempt to get him to quit. With regards to workers’ compensation retaliation, the employer is prohibited from terminating an employee because they seek benefits under Oklahoma workers’ compensation statute.
Workers’ Compensation and Retaliation
Some workers wonder if they should keep their workplace injuries to themselves so they do not face retaliation for filing a claim. But, it’s important for these workers to understand that retaliation is against the law. According to OK Stat § 85A-7, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who has filed a workers’ compensation claim in good faith. It’s also illegal to retaliate against an employee who has hired an attorney to represent him in his workers’ compensation claim or testified in a workers’ compensation case.
If you are retaliated against due to your decision to file a workers’ compensation claim, seek legal representation at once. If you prove your employer retaliated against you for this reason, the Workers’ Compensation Commission has the authority to award you up to $100,000 in back pay. The Commission may also award you compensation to cover other costs and your attorney’s fees.
Because of this law, there’s no reason for workers in Oklahoma to fear that filing a valid workers’ compensation claim will lead to serious consequences. Employers are aware of the potential consequences they will face for violating the law, so most of them know better than to retaliate against workers’ compensation claimants. But, if an employer does retaliate, an attorney can help you seek justice.
Are you being treated unfairly because you filed a workers’ compensation claim? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our experienced attorneys seek justice against your employer and secure compensation on your behalf. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact usonline for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.