Many people worry about filing a workers’ compensation claim because they fear employer retaliation. Although federal law protects injured workers and those making benefit claims from termination or punishment, some companies still fire or penalize those who get hurt on the job.
Other people worry that a Florida workers’ compensation claim might affect their social relationships at work. What are some of these social consequences that a significant workplace injury and subsequent workers’ compensation claim might have?
Co-workers might feel like you exaggerated your injury
Even if you have spent years on the job developing a reputation as a diligent, hardworking person, a single claim could affect that perception. Your co-workers might not understand the extent of your injuries and might feel like you have exaggerated your circumstances for financial benefit.
Witnesses might refuse to testify out of fear of retaliation
You could potentially find yourself in an isolated position after a workers’ compensation claim, especially if your company aggressively defends again such claims.
Even people who have long been your friend might worry that they will face retaliation, like a pay cut, a demotion or even a termination, if they testify as part of your claim. That could in turn have a chilling effect on your relationships even after you return to work.
People might resent you for costing the company money
Your employer pays into the Florida workers’ compensation system to cover each worker, making the benefits you receive a reflection of your work and not a hand-out. Sadly, many workers don’t understand how the system works, and they simply assume that your claim will cost the company money and potentially hurt their job security.
The people with whom you work may become less friendly or outright mean when you return to work or encounter them in public. Even people who have known you for years could place their concerns about the perceived financial impact to the company ahead of their relationship with you.
While there can be social consequences to filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, there will be financial consequences if you don’t. Realizing that such social issues are common can help you to take them less personally and can keep them from holding you back from the benefits you deserve.