Worker’s Compensation Retaliation Lawyer Top Answers: Can I be fired me for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim? Can I sue my employer because it fired me for refusing to take a drug test? How do I find a Worker’s Compensation Retaliation Attorney?
Under Ohio employment laws, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee because that employee filed a Worker’s Compensation claim, or instituted, pursued, or testified in any proceeding under the Worker’s Compensation Act. Retaliation is an adverse action the employer takes against the employee who filed, or was involved with, a Worker’s Compensation claim. Ohio law defines adverse actions to include firing, demoting, reducing the pay or changing the shift of an employee. Our employment law attorneys have previously litigated all of these claims. Prior to filing for Worker’s Compensation, it may be advisable to contact an employment law attorney to ensure that your employer’s policies do not interfere with the filing of your claim or maybe even cost you your job. For example, a recent federal court decision found that an employee who refused to take a drug test after filing a Worker’s Compensation claim could not establish a claim for retaliatory discharge.
In the case, Jeff Phillips had been a tire plant worker for 22 years. In April 2010, he visited the plant’s health services department to file a Worker’s Compensation claim because his fingers were going numb at work. The company’s policy required drug testing when an employee initiated a Worker’s Compensation claim and further stated an employee that refused would be immediately suspended pending termination. Phillips refused because he did not believe he should have to take a drug test to file a claim. A short time later he was fired.
Phillips sued the plant for firing him in retaliation for seeking Workers’ Compensation benefits. He argued the policy discouraged workers from filing claims. But, he could not point to any employee that was actually discouraged from filing a claim because of the policy. Moreover, state Worker’s Compensation laws contemplated drug testing and other state laws permitted employers to have drug-testing policies.
Ultimately, the appeals court found that Phillips’ discharge was not causally related to his filing of a claim. Meaning, he was discharged because he refused to take the test not because he filed the claim. As proof, the company presented evidence it fired other employees that refused to test but had not filed Worker’s Compensation claims; and did not fire employees who filed Workers’ Compensation claims.
Ohio’s Worker’s Compensation laws are similar to those mentioned in the case above and the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation has a drug free safety program in place for employers. Despite these laws, employees may still have legal claims that arise from drug testing. For example:
- An employer cannot discriminatorily single out only a certain group of employees for drug testing (e.g., race discrimination, age discrimination, gender discrimination, etc);
- Medication may be permitted for persons with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”);
- The employer must follow all state law requirements for drug testing their employees; or
- There may be a defamation claim if the employer publishes the results of a positive result that it knew or should have known was erroneous and the employer did not act in good faith.
If you think your employer has fired you because you filed a Worker’s Compensation claim or has discriminated against you, not followed state law, or defamed you in connection with a drug testing policy, contact an employment law attorney.
Being hurt on the job is covered by Ohio’s Workers Compensation laws. Those laws protect the employers from getting sued in exchange for the benefits provided the employees. Additionally, it is plainly unlawful for employers to block access or attempt to dissuade employees from filing a WC claim. Employers will also be strictly liable for retaliating against employees that file a Work Comp claim. Such illegal retaliation includes being demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied wages, or wrongfully terminated. If you have been fired or wrongly treated after filing a WC claim, then the best thing you can do is call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The Spitz Law Firm, and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting Ohio employees from retaliation after filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim.
The materials available at the top of this Worker’s Compensation Claim page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “how do I …?”, “Am I …?”, “what should I do if…” or “can my boss fired me for …”, it would be best for you to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to Worker’s Compensation retaliation questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, attorney Brian Spitz or any individual attorney.