What Is Workers’ Compensation and How Does it Work?
We have all been told “hard work pays off” — until it doesn’t. Even after years of doing great work, things can suddenly change if you get hurt on the job. How? Your boss becomes unhappy. Your dedication as a worker is forgotten. Your boss treats you as a liability. And in extreme cases, you may even be treated as a criminal.
In Suarez v. Key Risk, for example, the employee won their workers’ comp claim at the Industrial Commission. However, the employer appealed twice and lost. Rather than accepting the court’s decision, the employer and insurance company went to the police and filed criminal charges against the worker. Luckily, the charges were quickly identified as false and got dismissed.
As a result, the police were reprimanded by the court, allowing the employee to sue for damages, including charges of malicious prosecution, conspiracy, and bad faith. This unusual case shows the special protections given to injured workers.
When insurance companies and employers engage in unreasonable and untruthful actions, workers like you can sue to recover damages. The law is on your side. Workers’ compensation applies to employees who suffered work-related injuries or illnesses. When that is the case, their employers are legally required to pay for workers’ compensation benefits as a result.
You might even recover money if the workers’ compensation carrier harms you because of how they manage your claim. If such insurance carrier acts improperly and damages an injured worker, there may be claims for things like abuse of process, malicious prosecution, mental distress, and unfair trade practices.
With this in mind, a number of Federal and NC state laws function to protect you and your family from discrimination in the workplace. Many of these laws protect you throughout your workers’ compensation claim, such as if you were treated differently because of your disability from an injury or because your age played a role in your injury. Mr. Suarez from the case example above was likely discriminated against in all of these areas and also suffered outrageous conduct from his employer and the insurance company.
That being said, federal laws that protect employees from workplace discrimination include, but are not limited to:
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law the prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, school transportation, and all other public places.
- The Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination against people who are 40 or older.
- The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives eligible employees of covered workers the right to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons with the same group health insurance coverage and same terms and conditions as if they had not taken leave at all.
- The Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) protects employees who engaged in “protected activities” under the law in good faith but suffered wage and hour issues, workplace safety matters, mine safety, and health violations, and more. REDA protects employees at the state level with its workers’ compensation provisions.
Representing the Injured & Fighting for Their Rights
Ramsay Law Firm, P.A. frequently works with expert attorneys in the areas of discrimination. If you have been injured at work and feel like you have not been treated fairly as a result, we can help you fight back. We have managed thousands of work injury cases and know the tactics used by bad employers. As such, we can help clients get back to work after recovering. If going back to work isn’t an option for you, we are here to protect and guide you.