How to Respond When You Are Facing Retaliation After Reporting an Injury at Work

February 2, 2017

As long as there is human error there will be workplace accidents and injuries. Employers owe their employees a duty of care to provide a safe workplace that is as hazard-free as possible. In cases where the hazards are unavoidable, they must provide safety equipment and training so that their employees can be fully aware of the hazards and protect themselves against them as they work. If you should suffer a serious injury at work that was caused by your employer’s negligence, or a direct violation of safety regulations, you have a duty to report the accident to your employer and the safety violation to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

But what if your employer decides to retaliate against you because your reporting of the safety hazard cost the company thousands of dollars in OSHA fines, and you filed a workers’ compensation claim because of your injury? If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, like any other kind of insurance policy, when you file a claim, it can make your rates go up. So, not only have you cost the company money by reporting an unsafe working condition, your workplace injury claim has raised the cost of workers’ compensation insurance that the law requires them to carry for every employee.

Under federal law, you enjoy several rights and protections as an employee, basic among them is the right to a safe workplace and the right to speak up about any safety concerns you might have without fear of retaliation. The OSHA website has a whole section devoted to workers’ rights. But practically speaking, if you have voiced a complaint, or filed a workers’ compensation claim and it seems like your employer is retaliating against you by demoting you, giving you a poor performance review that is factually unfounded, reducing your hours for no apparent reason of firing you, you may be able to take legal action against your employer.

Additionally, OSHA has a new rule that allows compliance officers to issue citations to employers who retaliate against employees because they have reported an injury or occupational illness. Employers are required under the new rule to inform employees that they have the right to report workplace injuries and occupational disease without retaliation by posting a required OSHA workplace poster, which clarifies the process for reporting injuries and illnesses. OSHA started enforcing this new rule on December 1, 2016.

The most important thing you can do when you believe that your employer is retaliating against you is to contact an experienced Delaware workers’ compensation attorney right away. You can consult with them for free and you can get a clear idea of your rights and how to proceed with your case.

Getting injured on the job can be frustrating and you may not be sure what your rights are, or may be entitled to collect from workers’ compensation. If you have questions, or if you become involved in a dispute over your workers’ compensation benefits, call Larry Pitt & Associates at 888.PITT.LAW or fill out our quick contact form. Our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers are proud to serve clients in and around Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.