Can My Employer Punish Me Because I Have a Work Injury?
No, but some injured employees are genuinely fearful of losing their jobs if they report a work injury. Some bosses will witness an injury on the job but repeatedly ask, “You sure you didn’t do this at home?” The injured employee can feel pressured. In the case of Griffin v Houle Brothers Granite Co., Inc. (February 2017), the injured worker was promised that if he would continue to falsely report to his provider that his work injury was not work related, the company would “take care of” him and would not require him to use up his vacation days, but the company later reneged.
Vermont law prohibits an employer from terminating or discriminating against an employee because he or she asserted a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Vermont Workers’ Compensation Statute 21 V.S.A. Section 710 states, “No person shall discharge or discriminate against an employee from employment because such employee asserted a claim for benefits.”
An employer who violates this law may be reported to and investigated by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and may be sued by the employee for damages according to the Vermont Supreme Court’s 1995 decision in Murray vs. St. Michael’s College.