Dedicated Montgomery Wrongful Termination Attorney Helping Workers Fired in Retaliation for Filing an Alabama Workers’ Compensation Claim
Alabama law protects the right of workers to file workers’ compensation claims or to notify employees of safety rule violations. It is illegal in Alabama to fire an employee for engaging in such protected activity. Yet employers across the state routinely violate this provision by engaging in retaliatory discharge and other wrongful conduct, including defrauding workers by lying to them about workers’ compensation benefits or misclassifying them as contractors. Chip Nix, Attorney at Law, helps workers who have been fired, discriminated against or lied to regarding their rights to workers’ compensation benefits in Montgomery and statewide.
Alabama’s Workers’ Compensation Retaliatory Discharge Law
Alabama law section 25-5-11.1 states:
- “No employee shall be terminated by an employer solely because the employee has instituted or maintained any action against the employer to recover workers’ compensation benefits under this chapter or solely because the employee has filed a written notice of violation of a safety rule pursuant to subdivision (c)(4) of Section 25-5-11.”
This law makes it illegal to fire an employee because the worker filed a claim or lawsuit to recover worker’s compensation benefits. It also protects a worker from being fired for notifying an employee of a violation of a safety rule, which can form an element of a willful conduct claim against a co-worker who causes injury.
If you were fired in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you can sue your employer for your damages, which includes all the different ways you were harmed by the loss of your job. Additionally, punitive damages may be available against the employer for acting in violation of Alabama public policy. It is up to the jury to decide to award punitive damages and how much, and while punitive damages are generally hard to achieve, Chip Nix fights hard for the full range of damages available, including punitive damages in appropriate cases.
The process of bringing a retaliatory discharge claim in court is not complicated. The plaintiff must initially prove that the employer or person who did the firing had actual, specific knowledge that the employee had filed a claim for workers’ comp, and that the decision to terminate was based solely on this reason. This is often a difficult fact to prove in court, although there are many ways it may be accomplished with the help of a thorough and knowledgeable attorney.
Even if the plaintiff proves all these facts, the defendant may still come back and provide substantial evidence of a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the termination. If that happens, the plaintiff must then be able to produce substantial evidence that the reason offered by the employer was really a sham or pretext for the actual retaliation.
Help is Available with Your Alabama Wrongful Termination Claim
As you can see, bringing a claim of retaliatory discharge can be a rigorous process. Success on this claim requires the help of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney experienced in Alabama workers’ compensation law and civil litigation. Statewide, call Chip Nix, Attorney at Law, at 334-279-7770 for a free consultation on your potential claim.