You try to be a good employee. You show up to work every day, commit yourself to doing a good job and try to exceed company expectations. You might even push yourself to keep working after you fall ill or suffer a significant occupational injury.
When you have a medical condition acquired because of your work, you have the right to file a claim for Georgia workers’ compensation. Your employer should provide you with all the information and support you need to get those benefits. They should not fight you or try to prevent you from making a claim.
Unfortunately, some workers do experience retaliation because they report an injury or file a claim for benefits. Could you lose your job because you need workers’ compensation?
Companies should not retaliate against those who claim benefits
Workers should receive support and accommodations after a workplace injury, but that isn’t always what happens. Some companies will write a worker up for an incident that left them injured and then try to use that as an excuse to terminate that person. They might also use absences related to that workplace injury as the justification to fire them.
Your employer should not punish you for missing work after a workplace injury, especially if you have taken the steps to initiate a workers’ compensation claim. If your condition is severe enough to warrant disability benefits because you cannot return to work, your employer should allow you to return to the same job once you heal. If you can do your work with certain accommodations or perform another job that the company hires people to do, you may be able to ask for accommodations to keep working.
You can fight back when employers mistreat you
When employers don’t support injured workers by helping them stay on the job or get back to work after their recovery, they discriminate against that worker based on their disability. When they fire a worker because of a worker’s compensation claim, they commit an act of retaliation.
In both of these scenarios, the company may have violated a worker’s employment rights and could be vulnerable to claims brought by the worker involved. Realizing that a company cannot legally fire you just for reporting an injury or seeking benefits can help encourage you to get benefits or to fight back if they have unfairly penalized you because of a workers’ compensation claim.