Many injured employees fail to file workers’ compensation claims in Mississippi because of fear of losing their jobs, demotion, discrimination or harassment. This fear is not unfounded: employers and their insurance companies may retaliate against employees because this claim can be costly for the company. However, employees should understand their rights under workers’ comp in Mississippi and how to protect themselves and their careers.
Employer retaliation in Mississippi
Employer retaliation refers to any negative action an employer takes against an employee who has filed a workers’ compensation claim. This can include termination, pay cuts, reduced hours or benefits, harassment and discrimination.
Retaliation can also occur when an employer discourages an employee from filing a claim or penalizes an employee for seeking medical treatment for their injury. These actions are illegal and go against the purpose of workers’ compensation, which is to provide financial support for injured employees in the workplace.
Your options when your employer retaliates
First, before doing anything, you should gather sufficient evidence that your employer is retaliating against you. This can include written or verbal statements from your employer, changes in your work schedule or duties, etc. You cannot file a claim without reasonable proof to support your case.
Next, report the retaliation to your employer’s HR department or a supervisor. They may be able to address the issue and stop the retaliation from continuing. If this does not work, you can file a complaint with the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission. They will investigate your claim and may take further action against your employer.
You also have the option to file a lawsuit. However, in Mississippi, there are no specific laws that protect employees from retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. What workers can do is pursue tortious interference claims for damages caused by the actions of their supervisors or employers.
In the absence of specific anti-retaliation laws in Mississippi, it becomes even more crucial to remain informed and vigilant when your employer retaliates against you. Your ammunition in such situations is the pieces of evidence you collected and your drive to fight for your rights. If things go in your favor, you can expect compensation for lost wages and any other damages caused and also a right to have your job reinstated.