Employer Retaliation in Norcross Workers’ Compensation Cases
Getting hurt in the workplace can do a lot of damage to both your wallet and your capacity to perform work in the future, even if you end up fully recovering from the effects of your accident. Unfortunately, since Georgia is an at-will employment state, your employer is under no legal obligation to keep you around if you miss time at work due to a job-related injury, meaning you could end up losing your job altogether due to circumstances completely beyond your control.
However, this does not mean that your employer has the right to deprive you of workers’ compensation benefits by firing you, nor does it mean they can treat you unfairly while you are recovering from a workplace injury. Employer retaliation in Norcross workers’ compensation cases is a serious issue, and if it ends up impacting you, a dedicated workers’ comp attorney could help you address it.
What Constitutes Retaliation Against an Injured Worker?
Under Georgia’s at-will employment laws, an employer does not have to give any specific reason for firing a non-contracted worker and can let them go at any time, so long as they are not firing them specifically because of their membership in a protected class. This means that employers have the right to fire employees who get hurt on the job because they are unable to perform their old job duties while recovering, because they have suffered a permanent disability, or simply because they can no longer work as quickly as they once could.
However, employers cannot use termination as an excuse to deny an injured employee access to workers’ compensation benefits. Furthermore, they cannot subject injured employees to undue harassment, pressure them into returning to work before they are healthy enough to do so safely, or give them a menial job once they fully recover as punishment for getting hurt.
Importantly, an employer reassigning an injured worker to “light-duty work” generally does not constitute actionable retaliation, since they are generally required to do so based on instructions from the worker’s treating physician. However, employers in Norcross cannot retaliate against an injured employee by giving them a meaningless or unreasonable role while they are receiving workers’ compensation.
Fighting Back Against Employer Retaliation
Even if an injured worker believes they might experience retaliation from their employer if they report a workplace accident, it is always important for employees in Norcross to take full advantage of their workers’ compensation rights. In the event an accident victim does end up losing their job, they would still have a right to seek workers’ comp benefits if they remain unable to hold employment for any period of time following their incident.
In addition, an injured worker who can prove they were retaliated against specifically because of a workplace injury may have grounds to file suit against their employer and seek reinstatement, compensation for back pay, and/or certain other damages. During a private consultation, qualified legal counsel could go into further detail about what might be possible in a particular situation.
Speak with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney About Norcross Employer Retaliation
No one should have to put up with employer retaliation in Norcross workers’ compensation cases, no matter how severe their injury or illness is. Fortunately, workers who suffer injuries on the job have certain legal protections to ensure they do not lose out on benefits unfairly, and a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer could help them enforce those rights.
Anyone who believes their employer has unfairly retaliated against them for a workplace injury and/or a subsequent workers’ compensation claim should get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss their legal options. Call today to schedule your initial meeting.