Our Team of Charlotte Attorneys Can Help!
In North Carolina, your employer cannot legally fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you get fired while you are on workers’ compensation, your employer must have a different, legitimate reason for terminating your employment. Otherwise, the termination could be seen as retaliatory employment discrimination, or retaliation, which is strictly forbidden under North Carolina’s Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA).
Because you are protected by REDA, you should never be afraid to file a workers’ comp claim. Nevertheless, some individuals do get fired or suffer adverse actions after filing workers’ compensation claims. When this happens, Ramsay Law Firm, P.A. is here to help.
Call us at 704-376-1616 to protect your rights.
What Is the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act?
The 1992 Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) protects employees who file workers’ compensation claims and other complaints from adverse actions. Under REDA, your employer cannot fire you, nor can they demote you or subject you to any other unfavorable employment actions.
If the way your employer treats you changes after you file a workers’ comp claim or speak up about a problem at work, you may have a legal claim.
Our workers’ comp attorneys can help you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your Charlotte-based claim.
What Are the Elements of a Workers’ Comp Discrimination Claim?
When it comes to workers’ compensation discrimination, the elements of a claim are as follows:
- You filed a workers’ compensation claim
- You suffered an adverse action
- Your claim was a significant factor in the action taken against you
- The adverse action would not have occurred if your employer did not know about your claim
To better understand these elements, we can look at an example. Imagine a model employee hurts their back while lifting boxes. This employee files a workers’ compensation claim and takes some time off to recover and seek treatment for their injuries. When the employee leaves, they are in line for a big promotion, but when they return, they have been demoted. The employee asks what happened, and the employer asks them to resign.
This case is a textbook workers’ comp discrimination claim because the workers’ compensation claim interfered with the employee’s trajectory, and the employer retaliated against the employee. Aside from the workers’ comp claim, there was no other reason for the employee’s demotion, and when pressed, the employer affirms the retaliation. When litigating this employee’s claim, we might use a copy of the workers’ comp claim, old emails about the promotion, performance reviews, and the employer’s behavior to create a strong case.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, stand up to your employer.
In addition to REDA, North Carolina has other laws that protect employees who file workers’ compensation claims. The state’s public policy doctrine deems workers’ compensation as a legal right and makes it illegal for employers to interfere with workers’ comp claims.
When work injuries cause disabilities, employees are also protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, employers must make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. If an employee can no longer lift boxes due to a back injury, for instance, the employer should adjust their job duties or offer them a position that does not involve lifting.
Should the employer decide to fire that employee instead, they may face legal consequences.
Why File a Claim?
No one files a workers’ compensation claim for fun. If you lose your job while pursuing the medical treatment and paid time off you are entitled to, our attorneys can help you recover the benefits you need and other relevant damages. We work with employment attorneys to help you get your job back, recover the wages you should have been making, and recover money for legal fees. In some cases, your employer may also face punitive fines or pay you a settlement, which can give you plenty of time to secure a new job.
State and federal laws protect your right to workers’ compensation. Ramsay Law Firm, P.A. can help make sure these laws work for you.
Call us at 704-376-1616 or contact us online to meet with a board-certified workers’ compensation attorney and put more than 60 years of combined litigation experience on your side.