Nobody likes to irritate their boss, to be sure — and it can be daunting to file a workers’ compensation claim when you know it makes your boss unhappy. However, when you’re injured at work, you have that right. If your employer retaliates against you for exercising your rights, it could cost them far more than your workers’ comp ever would.
Take the case of a North Carolina construction worker who was recently awarded more than a million dollars after he was fired for stating his intention to file a workers’ comp claim and complaining to his bosses about his supervisor’s behavior.
The worker, an assistant superintendent for a construction company, informed the company’s chief executive officer that his supervisor was frequently drunk on the job. He said that while intoxicated, the supervisor had waved a handgun around at some point on a job site. Eventually, the worker and his supervisor had words, and the supervisor threw several punches at the employee’s face.
The worker was abruptly fired, which led to a lawsuit in which he claimed that he was retaliated against both for complaining about the safety issue his supervisor presented and because the company believed he was about to file for workers’ comp. The company claimed that he was fired for “insubordination.”
The court found that there was plenty of evidence in the company’s internal communications showing that the employee’s version of events was accurate. It didn’t matter that he never actually filed a claim for workers’ comp. The mere fact that the company anticipated that he might make a “good-faith filing” was enough.
Don’t let your employer intimidate you out of a worker’s comp claim. If you’re injured on the job for any reason, including the deliberate violence of another employee, you have every reason to pursue fair compensation.