Workers’ compensation laws exist to protect you if you sustain an injury on the job.
Although it is against the law, it is unfortunately not uncommon for employers to retaliate against employees for filing workers’ compensation claims.
Termination and Georgia law
It is not legal for your employer to fire you just for filing a claim, but the state of Georgia does not have a specific law that protects your rights in this situation.
Georgia is an “at-will employment” state. Some people mistakenly believe that “at-will” means your employer can fire you for any reason at all. What it really means is that your employer can fire you for any legal reason. Your employer may not fire you for a discriminatory reason; this includes terminating your employment because you filed a workers’ compensation claim.
However, this does not mean your employer can not fire you while you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, employers find excuses to fire employees who have filed for workers’ compensation.
Other forms of retaliation
Workplace retaliation does not always involve termination; it can take many forms. Your employer may demote you, move you to a less desirable position or reduce your hours. You might miss out on a promotion despite being the best candidate for the position, or you may not receive a raise when your job performance merits it. You might receive a negative performance review that seems unjustified. These are all potential signs of retaliation in the workplace.
If you filed a workers’ compensation claim and subsequently lost your job or received unfair treatment, you may have experienced retaliation. If you believe your employer retaliated against you illegally, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.