If you're filing for worker's compensation, one of the things you should understand is that there aren't any federal laws in place to protect you from retaliation by your employer. Many states do offer some protections, though. While this type of retaliation is rare, it can happen, and knowing what could constitute retaliation can help you identify and address it early, potentially protecting your job and preserving your benefits.

What Might Be Considered Retaliation?

There is no single definition for what constitutes retaliation in a worker's compensation claim, but the states that have laws in place protecting against it usually have clear definitions of what they consider retaliation to be.

In most cases, things like demotions, pay reductions, inaccurate performance reviews and inappropriate disciplinary records can all be considered forms of retaliation if they follow a worker's compensation claim. In addition, termination as the result of a claim might qualify as wrongful termination and be prohibited under the retaliation laws.

The catch is that you have to prove that the action was retaliation, which means showing that your job performance wasn't in line with the actions that have happened.

How Do You Prove Retaliation?

In order to prove retaliation, it's important that you have clear documentation of the actions that your employer took. You'll also have to be able to clearly show that those actions only happened as a result of your worker's compensation claim. If you can show documentation of recent reviews or feedback from your boss that shows performance in contrast with the recent statements of the employer, that can help your case.

In some states, you must prove that the claim you filed is the sole reason for your employer's actions. In other states, you can show it to be a significant factor even if it isn't the sole reason for the action. If you work in a state with an employment-at-will law, this can be challenging because the employer doesn't technically have to have a reason for termination.

A positive employment history can help to prove the claim on your behalf, particularly if you have no history of any reprimands or other issues. In addition, if you can show any kind of email communication or connection between the receipt of your claim and the actions of your employer, this can help as well.

If your employer does retaliate against you for filing a worker's compensation claim, talk with a worker's compensation attorney like Hardee and Hardee LLP about your options. He or she may be able to help you take them to court to be held accountable for their actions.