The law says that employers are not allowed to retaliate in any way against employees who file workers' compensation claims. But as we discussed in our February 15 post, injured workers are sometimes reluctant to bring a claim forward because of concern that the boss may hold it against them.
Last month, a Maryland legislative committee heard testimony on a proposed bill to strengthen protections for workers against employers who might try to retaliate against them for filing workers' comp claims.
Such retaliation is already against the law. But under current law, workers who are terminated after filing work comp claims have a heavy burden of proof. They must show that their work comp claim was the only reason they were fired - and that is a high bar of proof to meet.
Indeed, testimony before the committee indicated that the bar is so high that practically no one can meet it. Trying to show that a work comp claim was the only reason behind the firing is like trying to prove a negative.
Accordingly, the proposed change to the law would make it unlawful for employers to retaliate against employees "in any way" after a work comp claim. Obviously, that is comprehensive language, especially compared to current law.
Not surprisingly, businesses are opposed to changing the law. They are concerned that the proposed definition of retaliation is too vague.
But employer concerns about opening the door to possible fraud are hardly decisive. Of greater concern is surely the need to give Maryland's law against retaliation some real teeth.
Source: "Maryland workers' comp bills called 'anti-business'," Washington Examiner, 2-19-13
Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post in Maryland. To learn more about our practice, please visit our workers' compensation page.