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Report: Injured Workers at High Risk of Job Loss

A new study shows that work-related injuries increase the risk of job loss.sad4

Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston sifted through six months of data among nursing home industry workers, comparing those who had reported job injuries and those who had not.

What they found was, workers who had been injured were twice as likely to be fired within six months. Of course, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against workers for filing injury benefit claims for on-the-job injuries. Unfortunately, it still does happen.

Our Atlanta work injury lawyers know how to work with clients to minimize this possibility. And in situations where an employer is dead-set on lashing out, we can make sure all actions are properly documented so that employee can build a strong case to fight back.

Researchers for this study analyzed data culled from the Work, Family and Health Network, which explored the employment of direct-care nursing home workers at 30 different nursing homes across the New England region. Originally, the purpose of the study was to analyze workplace policies that would help improve worker safety, health and well-being. A total of 1,330 workers were included in the study, which involved the completion of four different interviews – one at the beginning of the study, one at six months, another at a year and a final one after 18 months.

Participants were asked whether they had been injured at work in the previous six months, and if so how often. The majority of respondents were certified nursing assistants, though their answers are familiar to those in a variety of industries.

Researchers looked not just at whether workers were fired, but also if they had chosen to leave.

What they found was that injured workers were:

  • 30 percent more likely to no longer be at their jobs six months after injury;
  • More likely to leave their jobs voluntarily if they had been injured numerous times;
  • More likely to be fired if they had only been injured once.

Study authors speculated workers were probably terminated from their positions either because employers have ascertained they can no longer complete their job duties or there is concern they will be injured again. And, of course, there are employers who are trying to dodge an increase in insurance payments.

Workers who left on their own reported fear of repeated injury. This was especially true where workers reported employers failed to put protections in place to prevent the same or similar injury from happening again.

There are state and federal protections that cover injured workers from retaliation when they file a workers’ compensation claim. But researchers say clearly those laws aren’t being followed. The lead researcher was quoted by FOX News as saying measures have to be undertaken to make sure workers aren’t disciplined or fired simply because they got hurt on the job. In many cases, these injuries happen due to no fault of the worker.

In order to prove worker retaliation, you have to show:

  • You were an employee entitled to benefits under workers’ compensation law;
  • You engaged in protected activity (i.e., filed a claim for compensation);
  • You suffered adverse employment action (demotion, termination, etc.);
  • Your employer was motivated to take this adverse action because you engaged in protected activity.

If you have questions about filing for workers’ compensation or the potential for retaliation and what you can do about it, call our Atlanta offices today.

 For information on Atlanta work injury compensation, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., at 1-404-303-7770.

Additional Resources:

Injuries at work may increase risk of losing one’s job, Feb. 8, 2016, Reuters

More Blog Entries:

Panoke v. Reef Dev. of Hawaii, Inc. – Presumptions of Injuries as Work-Related, Jan. 31, 2016, Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog