Understand Your Legal Right to Seek Benefits
Workers who are injured on the job in Omaha and Nebraska in general have certain rights. One of the rights is to file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. Another is to report the unsafe condition to the proper agency, such as OSHA, if appropriate and relevant.
A worker also has the right to do both of the above actions--seek workers’ compensation benefits and report unsafe workplace conditions--free of repercussions. This means that if you are demoted, penalized, or fired as a result of being out of work on workers’ compensation insurance, your employer is in violation of the law.
Whether or not a person can be fired for filing workers’ compensation benefits can be confusing to understand, in large part because many workers believe that because they are at-will employees, they can be terminated at any time and for any reason. While it is true that at-will employees may be fired at the employer’s discretion and without cause in most cases, there are exceptions to this rule. One such exception is in the event that the termination would be in violation of public policy.
Because Nebraska law entitles a worker who is injured on the job to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, firing said employee would be a direct violation of public policy. The statute also explicitly lists protections for employees who engage in certain activities.
Nebraska case law also holds that an employee may have a cause of action for retaliatory discharge or demotion when he or she is demoted or fired as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
The first thing that you should do is to call an experienced attorney who is familiar with workers’ compensation and workplace retaliation laws. You should also start documenting the details of your case, including when you received notice of termination, any events preceding the retaliation (i.e. warnings or probation for non-workers’ compensation related events), and any interactions you have had with your employer.
If you are injured on the job, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim, plain and simple. Do not be intimidated by your employer or the fear of losing your job; you cannot legally be terminated for filing a claim for benefits.
If you have questions about the workers’ compensation process, how to file, what your claim is worth, what to do if your claim is denied, or what your course of action should be if you have been retaliated against, call a lawyer. At Andres law Offices PC LLO, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys serving Omaha are ready to meet with you. Consultations are offered free of charge and we work on a contingency fee basis. Contact us today.