Some workers may feel intimidated by the prospect of reporting a workplace injury, because they don’t want their employer to be angry with them and take actions to punish them. This is particularly true if their employer has made comments or take action that make it clear that they discourage their employees from reporting accidents. If your employer has tried to convince you not to initiate the workers’ compensation process, here are a few things you should consider.
Can my employer discourage me from filing?
By law, you have fourteen days from the date of your workplace accident to inform your employer of your injury. If you miss that deadline, you could lose the ability to request benefits. Once you report your injury, your employer has to submit a report of the injury to their workers’ compensation insurance company in order to begin the process.
Minnesota’s workers’ compensation statute protects employees from retaliation by an employer for availing themselves of their right to workers’ compensation benefits. This is because the legislature recognized that people need a degree of protection in order to feel confident about filing for workers’ compensation and reporting injuries.
What if I file and my employer retaliates?
Retaliation comes in many forms. Sometimes, employers outright terminate the employment of an employee who files for workers’ compensation. Other times the retaliation is more subtle, coming in the form of withheld promotions, modified work duties, demotions and unfavorable changes in work hours.
If your employer engages in any of these types of retaliation after you file, you have a valid cause of action against them. Minnesota law grants you the ability to bring a lawsuit against them in order to recover for the damages that you suffered due to their illegal retaliatory measures.
The workers’ compensation program serves an essential function. It grants injured workers recourse when they otherwise would be unable to seek compensation or receive benefits after their injury. Do not allow your employer to talk you out of filing for the benefits that you need in order to recover physically and financially after your accident.