If you notice a problem at work, like a safety violation, or if you are injured and file a workers’ compensation claim, you are protected from retaliation by your employer. In Pennsylvania and across the U.S., employers are prohibited from firing, demoting, or otherwise penalizing employees for reporting workplace violations or seeking workers’ comp benefits. These acts are referred to as “employer retaliation” and may provide grounds for a civil suit.
A worker who has been retaliated against may seek to recoup any losses they experienced as a result of their employer’s conduct. This may include job reinstatement and financial compensation, depending on the situation.
Examples of Employer Retaliation
Various employers nationwide have been guilty of retaliating against employees who were simply trying to improve their working conditions, protect themselves and their co-workers, or recover benefits for on-the-job injuries. Employer retaliation may include any act or attempt to reduce a worker’s pay or position, fire a worker, or expose them to a hostile workplace as a response to their carrying out a protected act, like reporting a safety violation or work injury.
The following are examples of employer retaliation:
- Firing a worker (wrongful termination)
- Demoting a worker
- Decreasing a worker’s pay
- Denying a worker benefits, bonuses, or other compensation
- Changing a worker’s duties or position in a negative way
- Creating an uncomfortable or hostile work environment to try to get a worker to quit
- Giving an unfavorable performance review without just cause
Any worker in any position or industry can face retaliation. When they do, they have the right to take legal action against their employers or other at-fault parties
Protected Acts & Your Rights as a Worker
Workers in Pennsylvania have certain rights and can take specific actions without fear of retaliation by their employers. These are considered protected acts and may vary depending on the circumstances.
Workers have the right to do the following without fear of employer retaliation:
- File a workers’ compensation claim
- Report a work-related injury
- Support another employee’s workers’ compensation claim
- Report discrimination, harassment, or other workplace violations
- Report safety violations at work
- Request medical leave for an injury or illness
If you were fired or demoted after engaging in any of these protected acts, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. You should not have to suffer for exercising your right to a safe workplace or treatment and benefits for a work injury.
100 Years of Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Experience
For the past century, Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC has represented the injured. Our Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys know what it takes to hold employers and insurance companies accountable when they fail to respect injured workers’ rights. Our team includes J. Jeffrey Watson, who has been certified as a specialist in workers’ compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association since 2018. He is uniquely qualified to handle cases of this nature and works with the rest of our attorneys and support staff to seek the best possible result for every client.
To learn more about our firm and how we can help you, call (888) 498-3023.