Employees should report all injuries in a timely manner when they get hurt on-the-job. Prompt reporting of injuries is essential, as an employee must notify an employer when an injury happens in order for the employee to remain eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If an employee identifies a workplace safety violation, the worker should also provide notice of the unsafe conditions to the employer.
Unfortunately, sometimes employers take retaliatory action against those who report hazards or against those who report that an injury has happened. The law prohibits retaliation and protects whistleblowers, so those who make reports of illnesses or unsafe conditions should contact an Atlanta work accident lawyer if they face any adverse employment actions. An attorney can help you to get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve and can provide assistance with taking corrective legal action if you are the victim of retaliation.
Injured Atlanta Workers Protected from Retaliation for Reporting Injuries
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released news of one particular case of retaliation which was resolved. The case involved a technician who got hurt in February of 2014 while he was doing his job. The technician had worked for the company for five years before his injury, with no disciplinary problems.
When he got hurt, he reported the injury to his employer and made a claim to get benefits for his work injury, including repayment of co-pays for medical treatment services. At the time when he asked for his co-pays to be repair, his employer asked him to submit a second injury report. The company subsequently threatened to discipline the worker for a late report.
In June 2014, the company fired the technician. The company said the termination occurred because the technician had engaged in harassment and had made threatening statements. The company, however, did not have proof of any specific incidents and could not conclusively show that this alleged misconduct actually occurred. The employee complained to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, claiming he’d illegally been terminated as a retaliatory act for reporting his work injuries.
Since the company couldn’t point to any reason for the termination and since the technician had been in good standing until he reported his injury, it was determined that he had been improperly fired for reporting his work injury in violation of federal law. OSHA ordered the employee reinstated and ordered the company to pay the worker more than $332,000 in back wages and damages. This included $154,749 in unpaid wages and interest, and $177,720 in legal fees and compensatory damages. Notations of the discipline must also be removed from the employee’s record.
Retaliation cases are important, as every worker should be free to report injuries and obtain benefits provided under the law. Any victim of retaliation or any employee who does not get promised work injury benefits should consult with an attorney for help.
The Atlanta workplace accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent employees or their families after a workplace injury or death. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.