The citizens of Florida have decided that we should not lose our livelihoods, careers and right to support our families because of an injury at work. Because it could happen to anyone, Florida law protects the safety, security and health of all members of our community in their employment rights. Thus, in Florida, a worker who can prove that he or she was fired, intimidated or coerced because of a valid claim for workers compensation, or attempt to claim compensation, has a cause of action against an employer for retaliatory discharge.
Florida Statute §440.205 reads as follows:
No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any employee by reason of such employee’s valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Law.
For an employee to make out an initial case of retaliation under Florida law, 440.205 the following is necessary: (1) a statutorily protected expression; (2) an adverse employment action; and, (3) a causal connection between in the protected expression and the adverse action.
The first step – “protected expression” is clearly shown where a worker has filed a worker’s compensation claim. But, it is also shown where the worker has informally requested benefits after a work-related injury without having filed a claim for benefits. There is no requirement that a claim has to be “filed” for the injured worker to have a valid claim. Assume for example, that a worker and suffers a broken finger. He’s goes to the hospital for repair of the fracture. He calls his employer to find how his medical bills and lost wages will be paid while he’s recovering from his injury. While recovering the company fires the employee. This employee has a cause of action for retaliatory discharge.
The second step – that “an adverse employment action” occur- is the easiest to provesince the employee will show that he or she is no longer employed. However, being fired is not the only way an employee can show retaliation under section 440.205. As everyone knows, a company can make anyone quit after enough pressure and torment. Thus, if the employer makes that worker’s life difficult such treatment may be considered retaliatory.
The third requirement – that “a connection between participation in the protected expression and the adverse action” exist, is often the key element. Of course the company will come up with some reason for the discharge. The employer may, for example, allege poor job performance by the employee. Once the employer gives what it claims is the reason for terminating the employee, the employee needs to prove that the corporate reason is untrue, or not the actual reason for the discharge.
Damages: If you prevail in a claim for Workers Compensation Retaliation the following damages may be awarded by a Jury: 1. Back pay; 2. Future lost wages; 3. Damages for emotional distress; and 4. Punitive Damages.
Do You Face a Retaliation Situation?
At The Fraley Law Firm, our Florida-based law firm will confidentially review your possible Retaliation claim with you. There is no charge for this review. If we take your case, it will be on a contingency fee basis (% of recovery). If you do not recover, you do not owe us anything.
We have the legal knowledge and litigation experience to pursue your claim with the goal of protecting our community and your rights as a citizen to earn a livelihood. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation if you have suffered Workers Compensation Retaliation.