What If My Employer Tells Me Not To File A Workers Compensation Claim Or Threatens To Fire Me If I Do

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In most states, it is a violation of the workers' compensation laws to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim. If this happens, immediately report it to your local workers' compensation office.

Each state has passed workers' compensation laws that require most employers to maintain insurance coverage for employees who are injured on the job or in a work-related circumstance. Exemption from those laws may differ from state to state, but essentially these exceptions apply to employers with a very small number of employees, those employers who have only household employees, and agricultural employers. If an employer who is exempt from maintaining a workers' compensation insurance policy chooses not to accept responsibility for an employee's work-related injury, the employee may choose to pursue his or her claim by suing the employer.

The price an employer pays for a workers' compensation insurance policy is partially determined by the company's accident history. For some employers, this helps to motivate good safety policies and practices. However, it only drives others to minimize possible claims. If an employer is concerned about insurance rates or if they have failed to purchase the required insurance, that employer might ask an employee to not file a claim or injury report. Some may go so far as to threaten to fire or take other action against an injured employee.

Most states have laws that clearly prohibit an employer from threatening any kind of retaliation against an employee who wants to file a workers' compensation claim. An employer may not threaten, fire, discriminate against, or interfere with an employee in any way for filing or pursuing a claim. Any acts of intimidation are illegal and should be immediately reported to the state's labor department.

It is every employee's right to pursue any or all benefits provided under the workers' compensation laws. If it can be proven that an employer has taken action in retaliation for the filing of a claim, the injured employee may want to consult with an attorney about filing a civil lawsuit.

Damages pursued in a lawsuit for a retaliatory discharge could include past and future lost wages, mental anguish, and attorney's fees as well as some other punitive damages. Such lawsuits can be very costly to an employer because there are no legally defined limits on the monetary amounts that a judge may award for damages due to retaliatory actions.

If you have been injured while on the job, and your employer has denied your claim or told you not to file a workers' compensation claim, please contact a qualified workers' compensation attorney in your state today. You can find an attorney by consulting the Bar Association of your state, or by visiting the website of the American Bar Association, which offers a free lawyer locator service. This service allows you to search for lawyers by specialization in order to find the right kind of legal help in your area.


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