Minnesota law protects workers who seek workers compensation benefits.
Minnesota law guarantees that injured employees have the right to seek workers compensation benefits without interference or retaliation from their employers. If your employer tries to persuade or convince you not to apply for benefits – or worse, terminates you after you apply for workers compensation benefits – then your employer has broken the law.
How Do I Prove a Workers Compensation Retaliation Claim in Minnesota?
First, you need to show that you sought, or were seeking, workers compensation benefits after getting hurt or injured at work. This is usually pretty easy to do, as Minnesota law says that – as soon as a worker suffers a workplace injury – the law presumes that they are seeking workers compensation benefits. So, of course if you notify your employer that you were injured, file a workers compensation claim, take steps to file a workers compensation claim, or hire a workers compensation lawyer, then you are seeking workers compensation benefits. But, for purposes of the law, even if you haven’t done those things, the law presumes that you were seeking workers compensation benefits if you suffer an injury at work.
Next, our employment lawyers will show that your employer interfered with you seeking workers compensation benefits, or retaliated against you for seeking those benefits.
Interference generally means that your employer tried to persuade you to not pursue workers compensation benefits, by threatening you or setting up obstacles to your receipt of benefits. We can establish this through your testimony, the testimony of other witnesses, and cross examination of your manager or supervisors.
Retaliation usually comes in the form of termination after you apply for workers compensation. The employer usually won’t admit that it terminated an employee for seeking workers compensation benefits – they’re too sophisticated for that. Instead, your employer will make up and offer a different, lawful reason for termination. Oftentimes, the employer will say that they’re terminating you because you didn’t report the injury right away.
In order to win on a workers compensation retaliation claim, employment lawyers have to prove that the reason offered by the employer is a pretextual reason that is just being said so that your employer can avoid having to say the actual, illegal reason for termination – workers compensation retaliation.
We’ve got a couple ways to prove pretext on behalf of employees. First, we try to demonstrate that the reason given by the employer is just factually wrong. So, for example, if your employer claims that it terminated you because you didn’t make the claim right away, but actually gave you notice of the claim to your boss or supervisor right away but just said you wanted some time to see if it actually developed into an injury before you made a claim, then we’ve created a fact question for a jury regarding whether the reason given by the employer is the real reason for termination, or just pretext to mask whistleblower retaliation.
Second, we can prove that the reason given by the employer isn’t the real reason for termination because it wasn’t equally applied to similarly situated employees. So, if your employer claims that it terminated you for poor performance, but your peers actually had equal or worse performance reviews than you – or documented performance problems that you didn’t have – than we’ve created a fact issue regarding whether the employer’s stated reason for termination is the actual reason, or just pretext to mask whistleblower retaliation.
Third, we’ll look to the “temporal proximity” of your injury and claim compared to the employer’s action against you. That basically means we’ll see how much time passed between your injury and/or workers compensation blaim and when your employer terminated you, wrote you up, reduced your hours, or otherwise retaliated against you. Many employers are so careless that they’ll take action against injured employees within days or weeks. If your employer took action against you very shortly after you made your work injury, that’s great evidence of workers compensation retaliation – especially if you’ve worked there for a good amount of time.
For a legal consultation with a workers' compensation retaliation lawyer serving Minneapolis, call 612-349-2729
What if I get injured and my employer won’t let me work in a light duty job?
If you get injured on the job, and your employer has light duty work available that fits within your medical restrictions, Minnesota law requires your employer to transfer you to that light duty position.
Minneapolis Workers' Compensation Retaliation Lawyer Near Me 612-349-2729
Can My Employer Fire Me if I Make a Workers Compensation Retaliation Claim?
No – that’s the whole point. Just because you get injured at work and seek workers compensation benefits that you’re entitled to, your employer can’t retaliate against you in any way.
How Much is My Workers Compensation Retaliation Case Worth?
This is absolutely a good question to ask as you make a decision on whether to pursue a case in court or not. Starting an employment case is a big decision and you should know what your potential return is for the investment of your time and energy.
The short answer is that the value of your case depends on a lot of things, like:
- the strength of your case on the merits;
- the amount of damages you’ve suffered;
- whether your employer has the ability to pay a large amount; and
- your tolerance for risk.
We get this question so much that we’ve created a separate, detailed page going through each of these factors, right here.
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What Kind of Damages Can I get in a Workers Compensation Retaliation Case?
For retaliation claims under the Minnesota Workers Compensation Act, you may be entitled to back pay and front pay damages, and emotional distress and other compensatory damages, punitive damages, and your attorney fees and costs.
What Should I do if My Employer Terminated Me for Getting Injured at Work or Making a Workers Compensation Claim?
First of all, if you’re searching for answers right now, we’re very sorry that you’re in this position. We know how tough it is to lose your job, especially when you’ve got family and other financial obligations. It’s especially frustrating and hurtful when the termination is just because you stuck up and did the right thing.
Second, make sure that take advantage of state benefits designed to help people going through tough times. Apply for unemployment benefits. And, contact COBRA to make sure you and your family are covered for health insurance.
Third, write everything down that happened to you. Write down the date that you were terminated, who terminated you, what they precisely said was the reason for your termination, and who else was present. Write down whether you think the reason your employer gave you was accurate or not, and why. Write down the names of employees that you think may have useful information. Write down the types of documents or emails that you think may have good information about your case. Write down everything – the reason for this is that your memory will probably fade over time and you want to document things while they’re fresh in your mind. If you pursue a lawsuit, your trial likely won’t be for at least 12 to 18 months, so you want to have something that you can refer to – write everything down.
Fourth, immediately send a letter or email request to your employer requesting your personnel file and the reason for your termination. Under Minnesota law, your employer needs to provide it to you. If your employer hasn’t paid you all of your wages or given you your last paycheck, make sure to request those wages in writing also (by letter or email).
Fifth, call us to talk about your case.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Workers Compensation Retaliation Case?
In Minnesota, you have 6 years from the date of the discharge or obstruction to bring your lawsuit.
Contact Our Minneapolis and St. Paul Workers Compensation Retaliation Attorneys.
You must act quickly when it comes to employment claims. If you wait, there may be strict statutes of limitation that will bar you from filing any claim at all against your employer. Call Madia today to discuss your case.
First, contact our office and tell us about your situation. You’ll talk with our staff for about 5-10 minutes. They’ll get some basic information about you and your case.
There’s some information that we’ll need when you call. We will want to know who you worked for, what kind of work you did, for how long worked there, how much you earned, if/when you were terminated, the reason given by your employer for any discipline and termination, and why do you think your employer did something unlawful or wrongful. If you have this information handy, it will allow us to proceed more quickly.
We will get back to you shortly – usually within a few hours. If your potential case is a little outside of our wheelhouse, we may refer you to attorneys, agencies, or organizations that we think might be better suited to handle your situation. Our goal is to ensure you get the best and most appropriate help possible for your particular situation. If that’s not us, we’ll try to tell you immediately and point you in the right direction.
If we think that we might be able help you, we’ll set an appointment for you to talk with one of our employment lawyers. We’ll discuss your case, and give you our honest assessment of its strengths, weaknesses, and value. If we then mutually agree that Madia will represent you, we will talk about the process of moving forward with your case.
When you talk with our employment lawyers, please be sure to have all relevant documents that you have in your possession. For example, that could include: pay-stubs, personnel files, employment handbooks/policies, letters from your employer (including your termination letter), any text messages or emails that you think are important, and any other documents that you think might be helpful.