Is It Legal for My Boss to Cut My Hours After I File for Workers' Comp?
After filing a workers’ compensation claim, many employees are surprised to find that next their hours get cut. Either the employer will tell them directly that they are losing hours, or they find out when they check the schedule. Why is this so common? And is it even allowed?
When Cutting Your Hours is Allowed
Having your hours cut after being injured on-the-job is not an automatic red flag of wrongdoing. After all, many businesses shave off part-time hours here and there to save operating cost, especially at the end of a fiscal period. It can even be done to an employee that has filed a workers’ comp claim recently.
Actually, in many cases, it not only makes fiscal sense to cut an employee’s hours, but it also must be done. Your physician that has reviewed your health for the workers’ compensation claim can determine that you should only work a certain amount of hours each week. If you were used to 25 hour weeks, for example, but your doctor says you can’t work more than 3 hours a day, don’t be surprised if your hours get cut down to 15 a week.
In theory, hour loss after filing a workers’ compensation claim shouldn’t be a problem. If the benefits being given to you are doing what they are supposed to be doing, you should be comfortably getting by due to the compensation. This is clearly not always the case, though.
When Your Hours Shouldn’t Be Cut
On the other hand, an employer should never cut your hours, or otherwise penalize you, after you file for workers’ compensation solely because of your filing. This is known as retaliation and is strictly prohibited by labor laws.
Your employer should also not take it upon themselves to decide how many hours you can safely work. That responsibility is up to your doctor. Even a goodhearted employer that only wants you to rest and be comfortable after an on-the-job accident does not have the legal ability to remove you from the workplace if you are cleared for work by your physician.
If your hours have been cut after filing a workers’ compensation claim and you are suspicious as to why, you might be onto something. Contact The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC and talk to our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney about what happened. During a free initial consultation, we may be able to determine if you have grounds for a claim.