Strictly speaking, workers’ compensation laws are written to protect workers who file a legitimate workers’ compensation claim from any form of workplace retaliation. Even Missouri, which has weaker protections for workers than our neighbors in Illinois, makes this clear in its statute.
Section 287.780 of the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law states:
“No employer or agent shall discharge or in any way discriminate against any employee for exercising any of his rights under this chapter. Any employee who has been discharged or discriminated against shall have a civil action for damages against his employer.”
But the remedy for such a situation is not simple, and almost always requires legal action. Workers who believe they have been unjustly discharged or discriminated against following a workers’ compensation claim must file a civil lawsuit in circuit court to seek damages. Most employers will hire their own lawyers to fight these civil lawsuits. This complex legal process is nearly impossible for workers to navigate without help from a qualified workers’ compensation attorney.
Workers Face an Uphill Battle to Fight a Wrongful Termination
Workers should not have to fear losing their jobs because of a workplace injury. That is one of the primary reasons why workers’ compensation laws exist. However, employers still find ways to terminate employees who have filed legitimate claims. According to the Missouri Department of Labor:
“An employee may be terminated from employment based upon [their] post-injury misconduct. Post-injury misconduct does not include absence from the workplace due to an injury unless the employee is capable of working with restrictions, as certified by a physician.”
Do you see the challenge for workers? In a civil suit, the employee’s attorney would have to prove the termination came as a result of their workers’ compensation claim. So, workers who have found themselves in this situation must work with experienced attorneys to prove their case. A successful claim of retaliation must prove the following:
- The individual was an employee prior to the injury in question
- The employee filed a legitimate and accurate workers’ compensation claim
- The employer terminated or retaliated against the employee by creating a hostile work environment
- There is a direct causal link between the workers’ comp claim and the employer’s discriminatory actions
Aside from termination, there are other kinds of retaliation workers face after filing a workers’ comp claim. Employers might use overbearing supervision, verbal harassment, social isolation, or any number of tactics to create an intolerable work environment. Individuals who feel they have faced workplace retaliation due to their workers’ compensation claim.
Don’t Wait to Fight for Your Workers’ Comp Claim
My law firm specializes in workers’ compensation law. We help workers understand and fight for their rights in cases like these. No one should have to fear workplace retaliation simply because they have exercised their legal rights. You have the right to focus on your recovery without worrying about losing your job. If you think you have been discriminated against because of your workers’ comp claim, reach out for a free case evaluation. Contact us online or call 636-530-1515 today.