Every employee has the right to a safe working space. If conditions are unsafe where you work, you should notify your employer and, if necessary, should make a report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to get hazardous conditions fixed. You also have the right to workers’ compensation benefits if you get hurt on-the-job (regardless of whether any violations occurred or not) and must report your injury in a timely manner in order to make sure you get the benefits you deserve.
With the help of an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer, you should have medical bills paid and disability benefits provided when you make a workers’ comp claim after sustaining an on-the-job injury. You are also protected by federal law from being retaliated against for making an injury claim, collecting work injury benefits, or reporting unsafe working conditions.
Sometimes, however, employers illegally retaliate against workers for reporting injuries or OSHA violations. If this happens to you, you may be entitled to compensation for wrongful termination.
OSHA Protects Employees who Report Atlanta Workplace Injuries
OSHA recently published a news story on an incident in which a worker was retaliated against. The employee was a technician and he had worked for a company for five years before he sustained an injury in February of 2014. He reported the injury, as he is supposed to in order to get workers’ compensation benefits. He also sought payment for his medical co-pays for treatment he had received as a result of his work injuries.
When he asked for reimbursement for co-pays, his employers told him to submit a second injury report. His employers then moved to discipline him, claiming the report was late. Subsequently, in June of 2014, the technician was fired by his company.
The company claimed the technician was terminated from his job for harassing behavior and for making threats. The issue, however, is there wasn’t really any evidence to support the company’s position. The employee had never been disciplined in any way before he made his injury claim and there was no credible proof suggesting he had made the threats the company was claiming he’d made.
Because of the company’s conduct in terminating the technician and the lack of proof of any actual problems, OSHA determined the company had illegally retaliated against the technician for reporting work injuries and seeking benefits he was entitled to by law. OSHA ordered the technician reinstated, and ordered the company to pay him more than $322,000 in back pay, interest, legal fees, and penalties. The company was also ordered to provide information about whistleblower protections to others who work for them.
Employees need to know all of their rights when work injuries happen so they can seek appropriate protections in cases like this one. If you are unlawfully terminated or face wrongful action as a result of reporting work injuries, get legal help right away.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.