Workplace harassment due to a workers’ compensation claim

On several occasions, we have stated in our blog that employers in Iowa do not like workers’ compensation claims. These claims affect many areas of a business such as insurance costs and the business’s reputation. However, that does not mean that all employers in our state would resort to illegal or unethical post-injury workplace behaviors to prevent workers from filing a claim or to “get rid” of employees who have already filed.

Still, some injured workers exercising their right to acquire workers’ compensation have experienced unwanted behavior after the fact. We have discussed retaliation in a previous post, but now we would like to address harassment after a worker files a claim.

Often, harassment is more subtle than retaliation, but it is just as wrong. For example, say you break your arm in a workplace accident. You file a workers’ compensation claim and are eventually cleared for light duty. However, the tasks your employer assigns you are meaningless. Even as you recover, you find that you still only receive meaningless job assignments like sitting in a room all day with nothing to do.

Other examples of harassment include sudden, and perhaps frequent, disciplinary actions that never occurred before the injury, ignoring you and your contributions to your job and turning your workplace into a hostile environment. The latter may occur if an employer wants to force an injured worker to quit.

It might be obvious, but all of these actions are wrong. The law in America has bestowed upon you the right to seek benefits after suffering a workplace injury. It also empowers you to take action against an employer that harasses you or retaliates against you after filing a claim. Instead of quitting your job, we encourage you to look for a legal solution that will preserve your employment and prevent your boss from engaging in illegal behaviors. You can find out more by reading the resources available on our website.