You’ve been injured on the job and need to file for workers’ compensation—but you’re getting the distinct impression your employer doesn’t want you to file a claim. Can they retaliate against you if you try to recover lost wages and medical costs?
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) clarified their policy in this 2004 memo. In short, employers may not retaliate after an employee files a workers’ compensation claim.
How ‘Retaliation’ is Defined
Retaliation includes actions like “firing, demotion, reassignment or other punitive action,” but it also extends to situations where an employer refuses to accommodate the employee’s new physical or psychological limitations. Even counting your recovery time as an employee “absence” is considered retaliation.
Ohio Revised Code §4123.90 codifies this rule. It applies to any employee who files a claim, regardless of whether their claim was accepted or denied. The statute also covers what kind of damages an employee can recover in a lawsuit (lost wages, medical expenses and attorney’s fees, generally) and how long the employee has to appeal.
In addition to Ohio statutes, you may be able to bring a lawsuit under federal and state rules such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Ohio civil rights laws, among others. Your attorney can evaluate your case and determine the best cause of action for the specific circumstances.
What to Do If Your Employer Retaliates
If your employer retaliates, you must give your employer written notice of their workers’ compensation violation within 90 days of the retaliatory action. Ideally, this gives the employer a chance to resolve the issue without having to go to court. If they refuse, you have 180 days from the date of retaliation to file a lawsuit in the employer’s county.
It’s very important that you recognize these deadlines and adhere to them. If you don’t, you may lose your chance to recover compensation in court. If you’re a victim of retaliation, it’s wise to hire an attorney as soon as possible. They’ll help ensure that you meet the filing deadlines along with which laws and statutes apply to your case.
Please note that once you pursue a claim of retaliation, the Ohio BWC is no longer involved in your case. Your retaliation case is litigated in court rather than the administrative agency.
Speak with an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
When you’re injured on the job, you have the right to collect workers’ compensation benefits without fear of retaliation. If you believe your employer has retaliated against you for filing a claim, call me at 877.944.4373 right away. Let me help fight for your rights: I’ll Make Them Pay!®