Is There a Risk of Workers’ Compensation Retaliation in Florida?
Workers’ compensation in Florida is governed under the state’s no-fault system. This means that you are not necessarily suing your employer. Instead, the matter is referred to your company’s workers’ compensation carrier who is the entity responsible for paying out these claims. Your duty is to prove beyond a doubt that your injuries were the direct result of your employment-related job duties or from a hazard in your work area.
Some employers fail to understand how workers’ compensation claims work and retaliate against the employee in some manner. This is against local laws that protect workers from being retaliated against simply for filing a rightful claim. If you have been the victim of retaliation after filing a claim, it’s important to speak with an Orlando workers’ compensation attorney right away.
Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Law
The law in Florida prohibits any employer from retaliating against an employee who filed a valid workers’ compensation claim or attempted to file for compensation under the state workers’ compensation laws. Retaliation in these situations can include intimidating an employee, discharging or terminating them, threatening to terminate them, or coercing an employee.
Some employers are not aware they may be liable under this law, even if they don’t fire you for retaliation. This is due to the inclusion of coercion of employees. The idea behind the law is to keep employers from trying to intimate or coerce their employees to not file a claim.
Proving a retaliation claim requires certain elements be present. These are essentially the same as the employment retaliation that is covered by federal employment retaliation laws. These elements include:
- The employee must have been engaged in protected activity;
- He or she was subjected to adverse employment action; and
- There was basis for causation between the protected activity in question and the adverse action taken by the employer.
In these cases, the burden shifts. Once the employee steps up with a prima facie case, the employer then has the burden to prove the action taken was non-discriminatory and provide a valid reason for the action in question. If the court feels the burden is satisfactorily met, then the employee must show the employer’s “reason” was pretextual in nature.
There is no rule that says the employee must show that the workers’ compensation claim was the sole reason for termination or other action in question. What this means is that pursuing a workers’ compensation claim doesn’t have to be the sole reason you were terminated. The law says it’s retaliatory “by reason of” your attempts to make a claim. This law will allow you to pursue a claim directly against your employer for their retaliatory actions.
Contact an Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation claims can be tricky enough on their own, without the added element of finding yourself being fired or some other adverse action taken simply because you were exercising your right to pursue benefits for a valid work-related injury. If you need assistance with an Orlando workers’ compensation claim, contact the Orlando workers’ compensation attorneys at the Payer Law today to schedule an initial consultation.