Getting hurt at work will be difficult for you, and it will also cause issues for the company as well. Obviously, they lose out on your productivity on the day that you get injured, as you will likely have to leave to seek medical evaluation and treatment.
The company may also need to accommodate you after your injury so that you can stay on the job. Reasonable accommodations for a medical condition include reassigning you to a different job where the responsibilities won’t exacerbate your symptoms, providing assistive technology or allowing you to work from home.
Unfortunately, some businesses will openly refuse to accommodate a worker injured on the job, forcing them to take time off or eventually using the injury as grounds to terminate that worker. Such scenarios may be a form of workers’ compensation retaliation.
The obligation to accommodate depends on the impact
The reasonable accommodations standard is somewhat open to interpretation. Employers may try to claim to you that adding a wheelchair-accessible bathroom stall or a ramp to the front of the building would be an undue hardship.
That could be true for a small, locally-owned business with only three part-time employees. However, if they have hundreds of employees, they can very easily absorb those costs. Similarly, if the business is big enough to have multiple different departments, then it likely has enough workers to offer you adjusted job responsibilities until you fully recover.
Management might refuse to cooperate with you because they resent the potential financial impact of a workers’ compensation claim and because they hope that you will quit your job rather than pushing for them to come into compliance with the law.
Employer retaliation can be difficult to address
As soon as you start to think that your employer’s attitude toward you has changed because of a workers’ compensation claim or injury report, you may need to start taking steps to protect yourself.
You may want to keep your own records of your interactions with your employer and your medical circumstances. Many people will also find that legal support can be crucial when dealing with an employer who has become contentious over a benefits claim. Recognizing when a company’s treatment of you may be a violation of employment laws can help you assert your right in the workplace.