Workers’ Comp Retaliation

KVO.about1a1Being an injured worker in the Texas workers’ comp system is bad enough without being retaliated against by your employer because of it. Some employers want so badly to keep their insurance premiums low that they will try to keep injured workers’ from filing valid workers’ comp claims or punish them for doing it. We  have seen this with some employers in Austin and Dallas, where our firm has offices. Some employers mistakenly think that an injured worker who gets a workers’ comp attorney is planning on coming after the company and will try to get rid of them at that time.

At any rate, it’s illegal in Texas to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ comp claim, participating in the workers’ compensation appeal process or getting a workers’ comp lawyer to assist them. When you’re fired because of workers’ compensation retaliation – that is a true “wrongful termination.”

Texas Labor Code Chapter 451 is the law that prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee for their workers’ comp claim. The employer can’t retaliate because:

* you filed a workers’ compensation claim in good faith.
* you hired a lawyer to represent you in the workers’ comp claim.
* you initiated certain procedures or proceedings under the Texas Workers’ Compensation laws.
* you testified or are about to testify in a workers’ comp proceeding.

If the employer violates this law, you can get awarded reinstatement as well as your “reasonable damages,” which can include your lost wages, compensation for mental anguish and also punitive damages against an employer who did this to you with malicious intent. Some employees have been awarded substantial money because of workers’ compensation retaliation.

For this law to apply, the employer must be a participant in the Texas workers’ compensation system. Texas allows employers to opt out of workers’ comp – and some do. Some that do opt out provide an injury management plan for work injuries, and those plans are not “workers’ compensation.” Unfortunately, Texas still allows those opt-out employers to retaliate against an injured employee due to suffering a work injury – although other laws, such as the Family & Medical Leave Act, may provide that injured employee with some other protections.

Kerry O’Brien of O’Brien Law Firm of Austin and Dallas is one of the few employment attorneys Texas-Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law who has substantial experience handling workers’ comp claims. For four years, all he did was litigate workers’ compensation matters on behalf of the State of Texas through the Office of the Attorney General – in all parts of the state, from El Paso to Beaumont to Amarillo to Brownsville, and everywhere in between. His dual knowledge of and experience with the workers’ compensation system and enforcing employee rights in court makes him the right employment attorney for any Texas workers’ compensation retaliation case.

If you believe you are being or may have been discriminated against due to your workers’ comp claim or for hiring a workers’ comp lawyer, call the O’Brien Law Firm NOW at (512) 410-1960, set up a FREE phone consultation or fill out the form below so that we can get to know you and your situation. Your information is confidential and the form submission goes directly to employment attorney Kerry O’Brien for his review. 

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Need help with your workers’ comp injury claim? 

If you’re looking for a workers’ comp attorney to manage the injury aspect of your claim, here are a few workers’ comp attorneys around Texas who you can contact for help:

Dallas area:

Kay Goggin
(972) 437-1965
6440 N. Central Expressway Suite 804, LB 54
Dallas, TX 75206-4123
(Attorney Kay Goggin is Texas double-board certified in workers’ compensation and personal injury trial law.)

San Antonio:

Royce Bicklein
(866) 609-3852
8207 Callaghan Road, Suite 250
San Antonio, TX 78230
(Attorney Royce Bicklein is Texas board certified in workers’ compensation law.)

Lubbock and Midland/Odessa:

John Gibson
(806) 763-2020
1320 Avenue Q
Lubbock, Texas 79401
(Attorney John Gibson is Texas board certified in workers’ compensation law.)

 

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