In most cases where an injury has occurred at work, the only remedy is under the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation system. This means the benefits are defined by law. In 1975, however, a provision was added to the Minnesota workers’ compensation law that prohibited retaliation against an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
Under Minnesota workers’ compensation law, an employer can be liable in a civil action if the employer fires or threatens to fire an employee seeking work comp benefits. This is known as a work comp retaliation claim.
An employer can also be sued if the employer or its insurance company intentionally obstructs an employee seeking workers’ compensation benefits. The injured employee may file a work comp retaliation claim seeking loss in work comp benefits and can also seek costs, reasonable attorney fees, and punitive damages.
This work comp retaliation claim is a civil action that is separate from the work comp matter. A work comp retaliation claim covers those situations where an employer/insurer delay or deny benefits in a manner that goes beyond unreasonableness and neglect, and awards damages reserved traditionally for conduct that is outrageous or cruel. This means the action or inaction has to go beyond any reasonable defense the employer or insurer may have for denying work comp benefits.
There is a
three part test the employee must meet in any work comp retaliation claim:
1) The employee must demonstrate that the discharge was impermissibly motivated; and
2) The employer then articulates another reason for the discharge, then
3) In order to prevail the employee must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the discharge was for the impermissible reason asserted.
If you believe you may have been retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim, or you have been threatened with discharge for filing a workers compensation claim, contact our St. Paul workers’ compensation lawyers for a free consultation.