Worker’s compensation is an important resource for those who are injured on the job. Under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act, workers who suffer workplace injury are able to obtain medical expenses and wage-loss compensation. Death benefits may also be available for dependent survivors.
State law, in addition to required covered employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits, prevents employers from retaliating against workers who choose to exercise their rights under state law. Retaliation, a term which is also used in workplace discrimination cases, refers to adverse action taken against a worker who takes steps to exercise their right to workers’ compensation. Why exactly would an employer take adverse action against such an employee? The reasons can vary, but often have to do with concerns over the financial repercussions of a workers’ compensation filing. Whatever the reasons, retaliation is always wrong.
There are a variety of behaviors in the workplace that can qualify as retaliation. These can include: ostracization; verbal abuse from a manager; threats of termination; unjustified denial of promotions; unjustified pay reduction; demotion; termination; harassment; and even physical abuse. Most of the time, of course, employers will avoid the more obvious forms of retaliation and stick to subtler behaviors. True retaliation, though, is illegal regardless of how obvious it is.
Proving retaliation in court is not always easy, and those who feel they may have been subjected to retaliatory treatment at work should get in contact with an experienced attorney to have their case evaluated and to put together the strongest case possible.
Source: Forbes, “The 12 Most Common Workplace Retaliation Tactics,” Accessed Nov. 7, 2014.