Sometimes you do the right thing, but something bad happens anyway. For example, Angela knew she should report her work injury to her employer, so she did. Company policy also required that she go to the hospital. Angela complied. She communicated with her doctors, her employer’s insurance, and filed all the paperwork they asked. However, two weeks after the accident, she learned her employer’s insurance denied her insurance claim. They refused to cover her medical expenses and her lost wages. She began to wonder if she might lose her job if she filed for workers’ compensation benefits.
First, let’s look at workers’ compensation benefits.
Sometimes employees are injured at work or because of work-related exposures to substances like radiation, asbestos, or pollution. When a worker suffers an on-the-job injury or illness, their employer may be required to pay their medical bills, lost wages, and other compensation. In addition to the stress of recovering from the illness or condition, workers face other serious concerns.
“Will I lose my job if I file for workers’ compensation benefits?”
You might lose your job because you filed a workers’ comp claim. It is called retaliatory firing or retaliatory discharge. It’s distressing, but you need to understand your rights in this type of situation.
The handbook issued by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (the “Handbook”) states the following:
“It is illegal for an employer to harass, discharge, refuse to rehire, or discriminate in any way against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the law. Such conduct by the employer may give rise to a right to file a separate suit for damages in the circuit court.”
Keep in mind, though, that this does not mean an injured worker can do as he or she pleases. The Handbook also says:
“An employee with a pending workers’ compensation claim may still be disciplined or fired for other valid reasons.”
In fact, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act states the same thing: that the employer cannot retaliate against an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim.
You have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. In addition, you may file suit against your employer for actions taken against you in retaliation for your workers’ compensation claim.
Don’t let an employer stop you from getting the benefits you deserve.
You can fight back against retaliatory discharge, but you need someone backing you up – an attorney who knows the system and will give you the personal attention you need. Schedule a free consultation by calling Osvaldo Rodriguez, PC at 708-716-3441 or complete the contact form on our Contact Us page.
Mr. Rodriguez is fluent in both Spanish and English.
We represent clients throughout the state of Illinois, including Cook, DuPage, Will, and Kane Counties.