Workplace injuries are common. Every day, employees in Florida report dozens of on-the-job accidents. In fact, in 2019, the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation recorded more than 57,000 claims.
The law protects these injured workers in many ways. That includes protection from retaliation.
Retaliation against an injured employee
The workers’ compensation system is there to help injured employees. If you become hurt while doing your job, you will not be left in a terrible situation. Instead, you will be able to receive wage compensation and your related medical bills will be paid.
There are some employers that do not want this responsibility. Instead of doing the right thing, they retaliate against the injured employee. They might fire the employee, for example, or threaten to take action if the employee files a workers’ compensation claim.
Under Florida law, an employer cannot discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate or coerce an employee that files (or attempts to file) a valid workers’ compensation claim.
If an employee is retaliated against, they may be able to take legal action against the company.
You could still lose your job for other reasons
It is important to keep in mind that an injured employee could lose their job for a completely different reason. If, for example, the company laid off multiple people because of poor revenue, or fired an injured worker who was caught stealing, those might be legitimate actions.
However, when there is a dispute about whether a discharge was retaliatory, it is often up to the employer to prove it was not connected to the workers’ compensation claim. This can be quite hard to do, especially if the firing occurred very close to the time of the claim.
If you suffer an injury while doing your job, do not hesitate to file a workers’ compensation claim. You cannot be fired for doing so. If you do lose your job, there may be a retaliation case to be made against your employer.