Colorado employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have one or more full-time or part-time employees. If you are injured while performing a job-related task, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, many employees are hesitant to report a workplace injury or file a workers’ comp claim out of fear of the employer’s response.
Though your employer cannot legally fire you for filing a workers’ comp claim, some employers will engage in retaliatory actions in order to “punish” an employee. At the Frickey Law Firm, our workers’ compensation attorneys have the experience to recognize these tactics, and we have the resources and knowledge needed to protect your rights as an employee and secure the benefits you deserve.
What is Employer Retaliation?
Employer retaliation refers to actions taken by an employer to penalize an employee for exercising a legally protected right. The Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act, articles 40-47, affords employees the right to apply for workers’ compensation after a workplace injury. Therefore, filing a workers’ comp claim is a protected action, and an employer cannot legally terminate you or otherwise retaliate against you for that action.
Employment-at-Will and Wrongful Termination in Workers’ Comp Cases
Colorado is an employment-at-will state, which means employers and employees are not obligated to provide notice or reason for ending employment. However, there are exceptions to this doctrine.
One exception is the violation of public policy, or common law, which includes your right as an employee to file a workers’ compensation claim. Another exception is discrimination against a disabled employee. If your workplace injury results in temporary or permanent physical disability, you may have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers are prohibited by law from discriminating against disabled persons.
If you are fired for filing a workers’ comp claim, you are a victim of wrongful termination. The term “wrongful termination” refers to the illegal firing of an employee, and you may have grounds to sue your employer.
The Complexity of Employer Retaliation Cases
It can be difficult to prove that you were fired or otherwise targeted with negative action because you filed a workers’ comp claim. Since retaliation is illegal, some employers will manufacture an alternate reason to terminate or penalize an employee who has filed for workers’ comp in order to avoid blatant violation of employment law. Such retaliation may come in the form of:
- Exclusion from meetings or communications that are vital to your ability to perform your duties
- Taking you off an important project you were working on
- Negative performance review despite that you
- Held to a different standard than others
Employer retaliation is just one reason you want an experienced and persistent workers' comp attorney on your side as you go through the process of filing your claim and securing benefits.
Schedule your Workers’ Compensation Consultation in Lakewood
If you are unsure of how to file a successful workers' comp claim, are worried about employer retaliation, or your workers' comp claim was denied, call the Frickey Law Firm at 303-237-7373 to schedule a complimentary consultation. Our workers' comp attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of workers’ comp, from filing your claim, appealing claim denials, and protecting your rights as an employee. We serve the greater Denver area, including Lakewood, Boulder, and the nearby areas.