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Employees’ Rights to Report Workplace Injuries

Work Injury claim formRecently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made anti-retaliation provisions in an injury and illness tracking rule to conduct outreach and provide educational materials for employers. However, in recent times they have announced that they will be delaying this enforcement to November 1, 2016 from the original August 10, 2016. This is important because these helpful rules will require employers to inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without being retaliated against. They will also be implementing procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are reasonable under many circumstances. OSHA has been working with many workplaces since the 70s to ensure that employers provide safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.

This is not the first time that OSHA has taken action to ensure that workers are being kept safe. In fact, Section 11 of the OSH Act prohibits discrimination entirely when an employee wants to report an injury or illness. It has been decided that reporting a work-related injury or illness is an employee right and that retaliating against that employee for their injury is full discrimination. This rule has been invited into the system because employees could be put at risk if they do not feel free to report injuries in the workplace. More lives could be at risk and more fatalities could result. If employees do not feel free to report, then they may not receive proper medical attention or workers’ compensation benefits that they are entitled to.

Unfortunately, OSHA finds many cases of employers who have discouraged against reporting and could be seen as unlawful discrimination. For instance, they have taken many reports of employers who have taken disciplinary action as a result, falsely accused an employee of causing their own injuries, or established programs of incentives for employees who do not report injuries.

What to do if You Suspect Retaliation

OSHA has implemented many programs and regulations to tackle retaliation before it even begins, and help employees feel like they can report all injuries within the workplace. So what happens if you feel like you have been retaliated against? The first step you should take is to try and talk to your supervisor or a human resources representative about the reasons behind the suspected retaliation. There may actually be a good explanation behind why this has occurred. Yes, you may have reported an injury and have been switched to another shift, but this does not always cry retaliation – suppose that your employer switched you because there was another opening there for you.

If there is no legitimate explanation and you still suspect retaliation, then you can voice your concern that you are being retaliated or discriminated against. Many employers will deny this. This is why you should point out all the reasons why you are being discriminated against and ask that it stop immediately. If they are not willing to admit that they are in the wrong, you can then take your concerns to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), of course with the help of an experienced attorney. At RAWA Law Group, we care about your case and can help you in the event that you are being discriminated against. Give us a call today.