Nov 17, 2017

Can My Employer Cut My Hours If I’m Injured?

If you’ve been injured on the job in the state of Georgia, you have
the right to seek medical attention at no expense to you through the workers’
compensation system. Workers’ compensation also provides several
protections for injured workers in order to prevent their employers from
retaliating against them for filing claims. This includes your work schedule—some
employers may try to reduce an injured party’s work hours after
filing a workers’ compensation claim as retaliation for the claim
in the first place.

In the state of Georgia, employers are forbidden from terminating or penalizing
employees by removing hours of workers who have filed compensation claims
for reasons related to their claim. However, they are not forbidden from
firing them for non-related reasons, such as workplace performance, attendance,
or conduct. Employers sometimes try to use these excuses as reasons to
justify firing an injured worker, which can sometimes lead to wrongful
termination lawsuits.

Let’s look at a sample case. Say you work in a restaurant and slip
on a water spill in the kitchen and injure your leg. You immediately go
to your employer and report the injury, your claim is accepted, and you
come back about two months later once everything has fully recovered.
However, when you’re cleared to return, your weekly hours are cut
in half. You’ve never been disciplined for poor performance or bad
conduct and in fact you’ve been recognized as “Employee of
the Month” before on a few occasions. You also seem to be the only
person who has had their hours cut—everyone else continues to work
their regular shifts.

In this instance, it’s plausible to think you may be the victim of
discrimination from your employer because you filed that workers’
compensation claim. The laws say you can’t face consequences for
filing a workers’ compensation claim, such as a demotion, cut in
pay, termination, or other discipline. However, your employer also has
the right to change their operation procedures however they may see fit,
provided they are made as a business decision and not out of retaliation.

This is where things could get tricky. You could bring a lawsuit against
your employer for discrimination, but you’d have to be able to effectively
prove that your reduced hours are retaliation for your injury claim, and
not a business-based decision. Because this can be difficult to do, it’s
strongly advised you speak with an Atlanta workers’ compensation
lawyer about your case and let them help you sort through the evidence
in a way that will help you obtain the best possible outcome.

Injured at work?
Call Hansford McDaniel – Workers’ Compensation Attorneys today at 770-922-3660 to request a free case evaluation and review
your legal options.