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What can you do about workers' compensation retaliation?

Suffering an injury on the job is challenging, but if an employer begins treating you differently after you file a workers' compensation claim, it makes the ordeal even worse. While workers' compensation exists for your benefit, employers typically want to prevent workers from filing these claims.

Fortunately, ethical employers that care about their staff use safety awareness and training to reduce or prevent workers' compensation claims. However, as most people know, workplace accidents can occur despite the very best attention to safety. If an employer views you as an accident risk, he or she might resort to harassment or retaliation in an attempt to force you to quit your job.

Iowa law prohibits retaliatory behaviors on the part of an employer after an injured worker files a claim. In a guide published by the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner, retaliatory behavior is listed as one of the "don'ts" for the employer. Below you will find the specific "don'ts" about which the state cautions employers:

  • Do not try to avoid workers' compensation responsibilities
  • Do not discriminate against injured workers
  • Do not terminate or retaliate against employees that have filed for workers' compensation benefits
  • Do not discriminate against job applicants that suffer from disabilities

Even with these rules and guidelines, employers may still choose to retaliate against injured workers who file for benefits. Because many workers fear losing their jobs, they often let these behaviors pass unaddressed.

One of the most valuable things to know as a worker is that the law can protect you from discriminatory and retaliatory workplace behaviors. A great way to begin protecting your rights is to seek advice from a legal professional experienced with Iowa workers' compensation law.

Source: FindLaw, "Iowa Workers' Compensation Laws," accessed March 21, 2018

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