Your boss can’t retaliate if you file for workers’ compensation

As a factory worker in the Des Moines area, you know how dangerous your job is. One wrong move, by you or a coworker, could have catastrophic consequences. Even a piece of equipment that malfunctions could cause very serious and lasting damage.

If you suffer a work injury, your first inclination is probably to file a worker’s compensation claim. But you might also be wondering what your boss will do when you report the accident. Will he fire you for filing the workers’ compensation claim or reporting the injury to your supervisor? More importantly, is it legal for him to do so?

Employers can fire employees for many reasons, but federal laws prohibit employers from firing workers in retaliation for a workplace injury. However, this may not keep your boss from finding another reason to let you go after you have an accident at work.

Employment at-will

Unless you have a contract that protects your job for a certain amount of time, your employer can fire you for almost any reason. While you cannot be fired for pursuing a worker’s compensation claim, if your injury resulted from an act that was a direct violation of company policies, then your boss can let you go after you return to work.

Retaliation

As mentioned above, your employer cannot terminate you simply because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. However, most companies do not like it when workers suffer injuries on the job and file claims because it causes their insurance rates to go up. This means that if you do have an accident, file a claim and get fired, you might be able to file a lawsuit. Keep in mind, you will have to be able to prove that your employer fired you because of the claim or discriminated against you as a result of the injury.

Legitimate reasons for termination

There are various other reasons why your boss can fire you that are perfectly legal. For example, if the factory closes down or management decides to downsize the work force, then you may not have a job when your doctor releases you to return to work. In addition, if your boss makes a reasonable effort to accommodate your injury but you cannot still perform your duties, you can be terminated.

If you suffer a workplace injury, you might be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. If the insurer denies your claim or your employer fires you in retaliation, you still have options. You can take legal action and fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve.