Employer Retaliation in Montgomery County Workers’ Comp Cases

The workers’ compensation system in Montgomery County and Maryland is a form of insurance for employees. This system provides monetary benefits to workers who were hurt on the job, and the benefits are designed to supplement the injured individual’s income until they come back to work.

This system is unique in that it replaces a worker’s right to file a personal injury lawsuit based on a workplace injury. Fearing that work-related injury cases would clog the courts, the legislature adopted a “no-fault” system to cover injured workers regardless of who caused the accident.

You have the right to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission, but that does not mean your employer will like it. A claim from a work injury may cause an increase in their insurance premiums, which can add up quickly. Fortunately, the law protects you from employer retaliation in Montgomery County workers’ comp cases. If you feel you are being targeted, a skilled workers’ compensation attorney might be able to help.

How Do Employers Typically Retaliate for Workers’ Comp Claims?

Employer retaliation can take many forms. While termination is the most severe example, there are other ways an employer could try to punish a worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim. These forms of retaliation could include:

  • Cuts in pay
  • Discipline
  • Harassment
  • Demotion
  • Limiting hours

Retaliation can include subtle things like unwarranted write-ups or unusual performance reviews. Employers with multiple locations could attempt to force a worker to relocate or change their work hours so that they conflict with family responsibilities. Any worker who experiences this sort of conduct after filing a claim could benefit from discussing their case with an attorney.

Anti-Retaliation Laws in Montgomery County

While Maryland law recognizes at-will employment, there are some important exceptions that can protect a person from losing their job. These exceptions are fairly narrow. The good news for Montgomery County workers is that filing a workers’ compensation claim is protected under the law. An employer who fires a worker for exercising their right to file a claim could face both criminal and civil consequences.

Maryland Labor and Employment Code §  9-1105 bars an employer from retaliating against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is a crime under this statute to discharge a worker in retaliation, and a conviction carries up to a year in jail. Additionally, these actions could open the employer up to a civil lawsuit.

When Termination is Justified

Despite the protections against retaliation, employers retain the right to fire or discipline their employees in most situations. An active workers’ compensation claim will not make an employee immune to these actions. If a Montgomery County employer has grounds to terminate the worker that are not based on the filing of a workers’ compensation claim, the retaliation statute does not apply. Courts will review these claims on a case-by-case basis, given that using a pre-textual reason for termination is still considered retaliation under the law.

Discuss Employer Retaliation in Montgomery County with a Workers’ Comp Attorney

You have the right under state and federal law to pursue a claim following your workplace injury. While your employer is barred from retaliating against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Montgomery County, the reality is there are countless ways they can attempt to skirt these requirements. A discussion with experienced legal counsel could provide you with important insight into whether you have been treated fairly or if your employer has unlawfully retaliated against you.