Across the country, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that employees can file claims regardless of whose fault it is – whether the employer is to blame, the employee is to blame, a third party is to blame, or it was a fluke accident.
Years ago, it was very difficult for injured workers to collect from employers when they suffered job-related injuries. When workers were hurt on the job years ago, they’d find it nearly impossible to collect from their employers, so they and their families would suffer unimaginable harm, medically and financially. Fortunately, workers’ compensation laws were put in place to protect injured employees and employers alike.
Today, when an employee collects workers’ compensation, they are barred from filing a separate lawsuit against their employer. This provision shields employers from getting sued by injured employees; however, a number of employees are still afraid of filing workers’ compensation claims because they fear losing their jobs. They’re afraid that if they file a claim, they’ll be discriminated against.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS ABOUT DISCRIMINATION
In New York, employers are prohibited from firing or otherwise discriminating against employees who attempt to claim, or who claim workers’ compensation. If an employee agrees to testify in a workers’ compensation proceeding, he or she is also protected under the law. If an employee believes that his or her employer has discriminated against them, they have two years to file a complaint for discrimination.
If you feel you were discriminated against, you can file a complaint of discrimination. If the New York Workers’ Compensation Board finds that you were improperly discharged, it can order your former employer to restore your previous position, or at least your privilege. Your employer could also be ordered to pay you for any lost compensation, which arose from you being discriminated against.
To learn more about your rights against discrimination when filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact our Long Island workers’ compensation firm.