It is your right as a worker who is injured at your place of employment to file a claim for workers’ compensation insurance. This is your right regardless of whether or not your employer expresses a desire from you to refrain from filing a workers’ compensation claim, or threatens your position in the workplace in any way as a result of your desire to file your workers’ compensation claim. In fact, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you in any way for filing a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. Retaliation against an employee for performing an act that is within the employee’s is prohibited by federal law.
What Constitutes an Act of Retaliation?
It can be confusing to know exactly what an act of retaliation is. If your employer simply gives you the cold shoulder for a few days, this can be confused as a retaliatory act, but is not necessarily classified as one under the law. Instead, acts of retaliation include:
- Refusal to hire or promote;
- Negative employee evaluations;
- Negative references;
- Increased surveillance of the employee;
- Assault; or
- Any other unfounded acts against the employee.
The list above is provided by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.
What Should I Do If I Am Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Benefits after a Workplace Injury?
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 23-1501(3) specifically reads that an employee has a civil claim against his or her employer if the employer has terminated the employment in a violation of the rights under the workers’ compensation statutes. In other words, if your employer fires you for filing a workers’ compensation claim for benefits, you have the right to file a civil action directly against your employer for wrongful termination. It is highly advised that you consult with an attorney before doing so.
Hopefully, you will not have a need to take a civil action against your employer. However, if you have postponed filing your workers’ compensation claim for benefits based on a the fear that you may be fired for doing so, know that the law is on your side. If you have been retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim, call an attorney immediately.