U.S. Capital

Employers Face Liability for Retaliation Against Employees Who File Workers’ Compensation Claims

Jul 22, 2016

Petrillo & Goldberg Law.

Petrillo & Goldberg Law.

Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) July 22, 2016 – Lawsuits that accuse companies of engaging in workers’ compensation retaliation are becoming increasingly common.

This is because of the recent verdicts awarding damages to employees whose former employers retaliated against them when they filed workers’ compensation claims. For instance, in February of this year, a court in Indiana rendered a judgment in excess of $400,000 in a workers’ compensation retaliation lawsuit. In addition, a jury in Florida awarded over $600,000 for another such claim. And the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit lowered a $4.2 million award to $2 million.

It is illegal to terminate or discriminate against an employee for attempting to secure workers’ compensation benefits. While federal law does not forbid retaliation, the majority of states have laws that disallow such behavior. For example, in New Jersey, there is a law that regulates the illegal discharge of, or discrimination against, an employee because that employee sought workers’ compensation benefits.

Prominent South Jersey personal injury attorneys Petrillo & Goldberg put it like this: “Employees who are injured at work should feel comfortable filing a workers’ compensation claim without fear of retaliation from their employer.”

In order to obtain protection in most states, an employee is required to act honestly in trying to secure workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, the employee does not have to make a formal claim for such benefits prior to filing a claim for retaliation. An employee can create a workers’ compensation claim by informing the employer of an injury and asking about the process of paying for medical expenses.

Over the past ten years, juries have been awarding significant punitive damages in workers’ compensation claims. This is due to a number of factors, including public awareness, public perception, timing and fraud. Juries have a tendency to think that employers engage in retaliation. It is also often the case that a claim is denied just prior to an employee’s termination. Furthermore, due to the prevalence of insurance fraud, workers argue that employers think that all claims are fraudulent.

In a retaliation claim, the amount of time that elapses between the injury and termination is pivotal. If an employee is discharged just days or weeks after filing a claim, a jury may infer that the two events were related. Since previous conduct is also important, the employee will try to show that there were little or no disciplinary actions or problems of any kind before the injury.

It is also worth noting that while the workers’ compensation statute does not mandate that an employer provide employees with a safe work environment, an employer is liable when one of its employees assaults another employee within the scope of employment. Additionally, under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), it is illegal for an employer to engage in retaliation against an employee who reports a crime that took place at work.

Learn more at http://www.petrilloandgoldberg.com/

Petrillo & Goldberg Law

6951 North Park Drive
Pennsauken, NJ 08109

19 South 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

70 South Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096

Phone: 856-486-4343
Fax: 856:486-7979

  • Workers’ compensation fraud by two South Jersey companies
    According to authorities, a recycling company in South Jersey engaged in a conspiracy with an insurance agency to give false information to a workers’ compensation carrier in order to achieve reduced premiums on workers’ compensation insurance. New Jersey Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman made an announcement in February of this year that Supreme Asset […]
  • Woman dies in collision, is then struck in a hit-and-run
    According to 6abc.com, a woman named Annabel Aponte of Glassboro, New Jersey, was involved in a car accident, and then was struck by another vehicle in a hit-and-run. Initially, it was believed that the 32-year-old woman survived crashing into a tree in Deptford, New Jersey, and was then killed when a car hit her as […]
  • Collision between New Jersey Transit River Line train and car causes injury
    In Riverton, New Jersey, four people suffered injuries following a collision between a NJ Transit River LINE train and a vehicle. The accident occurred on the morning of Thursday, May 5, at around 10:30 a.m. in the vicinity of the intersection of Main and Broad streets. According to Action News, the River LINE had reduced […]
  • Hit-and-run driver strikes and kills 16-year-old student
    According to police, the driver of a car belonging to a woman’s niece hit and killed a teenager along a road in South Jersey on the night of March 29. The driver then fled the scene of the accident. The motorist, who is 40 years old, struck a 16-year-old student of Pennsauken High School. The […]
  • Lack of workers’ compensation benefits for Uber drivers in New Jersey
    As an Uber driver in New Jersey, you may have a significant amount of flexibility in terms of the number of hours you work, and the ability to earn extra income, but if you are involved in an accident, you may not be covered under the workers’ compensation laws of New Jersey. Uber requires its […]