Workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect injured employees in the event that they are injured on the job. Under state workers’ compensation programs, injured workers can generally receive workers’ compensation benefits for on-the-job injuries regardless of who was at fault. Workers’ compensation programs also seek to promote workplace safety since employers with lower incidents of workplace injuries will likely have lower premiums for workers’ compensation insurance.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that, although the number of workplace injuries recorded by the federal government has dropped by 31% over the past decade, the incidence of retaliation for workers’ compensation claims nearly doubled during that time period, leaving many concerned that employers are discouraging employees from reporting workplace injuries and asserting their legal rights.
According to the Wall Street Journal article, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) believes too many injuries go unreported. In fact, a 2011 study found indications that workplace injuries were going unrecorded at some construction sites when a survey of 1,020 apprentice carpenters in the St. Louis and Chicago areas found that only about 47% said work-related injuries were reported all or most of the time in their work sites.
OSHA has reminded employers that federal law bars them from retaliating against employees for reporting injuries, and warned employers against offering bonuses or prizes for meeting safety goals if those incentives deter workers from reporting injuries.
Not only are employees protected from workplace harassment and discrimination, but they are also protected from workplace retaliation. Workplace retaliation occurs any time an employer punishes an employee for asserting his or her legal rights, including filing a claim for workers’ compensation.
Common types of workplace retaliation include: demotions, disciplinary actions, dismissals, salary reductions, hour reductions, shift reassignments, and changes in job responsibilities. Sometimes workplace retaliation is obvious, such as when an employee is fired, but in other situations, workplace retaliation may be less obvious. For instance, some employers offer reward incentives if there are no injuries for a period of time, but these incentives can discourage employees from reporting injuries and asserting their workers’ compensation rights.
If you were injured in a workplace accident and/or were the victim of workplace retaliation, you need an attorney who is knowledgeable about workers’ compensation and employment laws, experienced handling workers’ compensation and employment claims, and dedicated to protecting employee rights.
The Chicago workers’ rights lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC are dedicated to protecting employees who suffered an on-the-job injury or were the victim of workplace retaliation. We are committed to helping workers who are injured on the job obtain full and fair recovery for their injuries, including workers’ compensation benefits and any personal injury damages in a third party lawsuit, as well as ensuring that they are not the victim of workplace retaliation as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers.