From the Workers’ Comp Attorneys at Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A.
At Milavetz, we get many calls from workers in all walks of life – hospitals, factories, and offices – you name it! These employees are trying to get answers to questions about their rights in the workers’ compensation system – and how they can act to protect those rights. Each week, check this blog for a new work comp question and the Milavetz answer. If you have questions about your case, give us a call or feel free to send us an e-mail.
Can I be fired by my employer for applying for workers’ compensation?
Steve Levine of Milavetz writes:
Under Minn. Stat. 176.82, it is illegal to discharge an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits. It is also illegal for an employer to obstruct an employee’s effort to seek these benefits. In this situation, it is important to understand that the employer is liable for damages in a separate, civil action in District Court, not through the workers’ compensation system. In other words, Minn. Stat. 176.82 does not describe a workers’ compensation benefit. Damages could include any workers’ compensation benefits you have lost as a result of the employer’s actions. The employer may also be liable for punitive damages. If you have been threatened by your employer for making a workers’ compensation claim, you should call us at Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz.
176.82 ACTION FOR CIVIL DAMAGES FOR OBSTRUCTING EMPLOYEE SEEKING BENEFITS.
I. Subdivision 1.Retaliatory discharge.
Any person discharging or threatening to discharge an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits or in any manner intentionally obstructing an employee seeking workers’ compensation benefits is liable in a civil action for damages incurred by the employee including any diminution in workers’ compensation benefits caused by a violation of this section including costs and reasonable attorney fees, and for punitive damages not to exceed three times the amount of any compensation benefit to which the employee is entitled. Damages awarded under this section shall not be offset by any workers’ compensation benefits to which the employee is entitled.