Workers' Compensation Claim Retaliation

Labor & Employment Law

Unlawful Retaliation for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim

Can my boss retaliate against me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?

No.  Under Florida Statute Section 440.205, an employer cannot terminate, threaten to terminate, intimidate, or coerce an employee because the employee is filing or has previously filed a valid workers’ compensation claim.

What type of conduct is protected by the Workers’ Compensation Law?

Florida’s Workers’ Compensation law protects employees who file and pursue a workers’ compensation claim from retaliation, regardless of whether the claim is approved or denied.

Additionally, if an employee attempted to file a workers’ compensation claim, but were retaliated against before they could do so, such retaliation is prohibited under the law.

Who is protected by the Workers’ Compensation Law?

All Florida employees are protected from workers’ compensation retaliation as defined in Florida Statute Section 440.02.

However, independent contractors are NOT protected under the Workers’ Compensation Law.  In fact, there are quite a few jobs that are considered exempt as listed in Florida Statute Section 440.02(15)(d).  A few examples of exempt employees are real estate agents who works only on commission, volunteers or even certain taxicab drivers. Thus, these exempt employees are not covered under the law.

Do all employers have to follow the Workers’ Compensation Law?

  • Public employers, such as counties, cities and the state must follow the workers’ compensation laws.
  • In the private sector, it depends on the number of employees the employer has as well as the industry. For example:
    • Construction employers are required to follow the workers’ compensation law if they employ one or more employees; however
    • Non-construction related employers have to comply with the law if they employ four or more employees; while
    • Agricultural employers must comply if they employ six or more employees.

If your employer meets those threshold requirements, then you are protected from retaliation for pursuing a workers’ compensation claim.

How do I bring a workers’ compensation retaliation claim?

To pursue a workers’ compensation retaliation, you must file a lawsuit against your employer in the appropriate state circuit court.

Workers’ compensation retaliation claims are subject to a four-year statute of limitations to bring the claim. This means you must file the lawsuit within four years of the date you knew or should have known of the retaliatory action. If you miss this four-year deadline, you will be forever barred from pursuing your claim.

What can I recover for a workers’ compensation retaliation claim?

If you are successful in proving your retaliation claim, the damages you could recover include:

  • Back pay;
  • Future lost wages;
  • Emotional distress damages; and
  • Punitive damages.

However, recovery of your attorneys’ fees are not available, even if your claim is successful.  

Sass Law Firm assists workers who have been retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim.  If you think you have been retaliated against because of a workers’ compensation claim, we encourage you to seek legal advice from an attorney experienced like those at the Sass Law Firm.  

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