Sometimes people get hurt on the job. It can be something as simple as a sprained ankle, or something as devastating as severe life-threatening injuries. In either case, under most circumstances these injuries are supposed to be dealt with through the workers’ compensation system. This system allows workers to recover a sum of money to help with medical bills and living expenses while they are away from work. Unfortunately, there are a few employers out there who punish their employees for using this system. Doing so is considered retaliation, and it is illegal.
Oregon Law Regarding Workers’ Compensation Retaliation
The primary law that governs this sort of case is in a statute. That statute is Oregon Revised Statute 659A.040. The statute only applies to employers who employ six or more people, and it includes a few protections. First of all, it says that it is an “unlawful employment practice” for an employer to discriminate against a worker with respect to hire or tenure because the worker has applied for or invoked the benefits of workers’ compensation. This means two things. First, your current employer cannot fire you or demote you because you file a workers’ compensation claim. Second, in the future, a different employer cannot refuse to hire you because you filed a workers’ compensation claim in the past.
The next part of the law says that your employer cannot discriminate against you because of your workers’ compensation claim when it comes to the terms and conditions of your employment. That means that the fact that you filed such a claim cannot be used as a reason to demote you or refuse to promote you. It cannot be used as an excuse to pay you less than you otherwise would make, and it cannot be used as a reason to modify your other benefits of employment.
The final part of the law says that you cannot be discriminated against by your employer for giving testimony in a workers’ compensation matter. So imagine for a minute that you are not the person injured, but instead your co-worker is injured on the job and you see it happen. Your co-worker files a workers’ compensation claim, and it winds up going to court. Since you saw the accident, you get called as a witness to testify about what you saw. Your employer cannot punish you for testifying in the proceeding, even if your testimony hurts the company in some way. You are protected against retaliation in the same way the injured worker is protected. Now, imagine that the injured party was your direct supervisor, and your testimony about how he or she got hurt wound up preventing him or her from receiving workers’ compensation. Again, he or she could not fire you or otherwise retaliate against you because of your testimony. This encourages witnesses to testify truthfully without having to fear for their own jobs, and it gives those who are retaliated against a way to seek compensation for the wrongful retaliation.
Call an Experienced Employment Law Litigator
If you were injured on the job, you may have filed a claim for workers’ compensation. If your employer retaliated against you for filing that claim, you should call the experienced litigators at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP now to see what we can do to help you. Call us at (503) 398-1130, or contact us online.