As the old expression has it, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” That is to say, those who complain about problems tend to get their problems solved — if only because the people in charge are tired of hearing them complain. Unfortunately, many workers know this expression often doesn’t hold true in the workplace. Sometimes, employers start to think the problem is the employee, not whatever the employee is complaining about. They may choose to retaliate against the employee by cutting their hours, denying them promotions or even terminating their employment.
Many workers fear this will happen to them, and so they don’t speak up about problems they have a legal right to complain about. Sometimes, in some difficult cases, injured workers fail to fight for their rights to workers’ compensation benefits, fearing that they will just make their employers mad at them.
It’s important for injured workers to know that they are protected from this type of retaliation. They have a right to request workers’ compensation benefits after they have been injured on the job, and they have the right to demand the full amount of benefits they deserve.
What is unlawful retaliation?
Retaliation comes in many forms, and not all of them are illegal. However, it is illegal for an employer to take a negative employment action against a worker simply because the worker has exercised a legal right. Many New Jersey and federal laws provide this type of protection to workers.
Under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws, employers are prohibited from retaliating or discriminating against an employee simply because they have filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits or testified in a workers’ compensation matter.
Know your rights
When all goes well with a workers’ compensation claim, the injured worker gets the benefits they need to cope with their injury and they return to work when they are ready. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t always run smoothly. Sometimes workers have to fight for their rights. When that happens, it’s good to know that the law protects them. Workers’ compensation attorneys can help injured workers to stand up for their rights.