The workers’ compensation program was created to ensure that employees who are injured or suffer job-related illnesses have financial support while they recover. In some situations, there’s confusion over who’s responsible for payment when a worker is hurt on the job in Texas. This raises questions of joint liability and employer retaliation.
What is employer retaliation?
In general, employer retaliation happens when a worker is fired or otherwise punished to prevent them from seeking compensation after an injury or an incident in the workplace.
The inciting incident could be anything from inappropriate comments to harassment or discrimination. Such activity doesn’t have to be directly from the employer either, but there must be some form of retaliation from a boss or other authority figure against the person making the claim. Under Chapter 451 of the Texas Labor Code, anyone from temp workers to whistleblowers are protected from retaliation.
Steps to protect workers’ rights
Laws were put into place to protect workers’ rights. However, not all employer-employee relationships are so clear-cut. Sometimes, workers are not directly employed by one entity but could be working as subcontractors, temporary staff or independent contractors.
Workers can protect themselves by reading their employment contracts and handbooks to see who is responsible for workplace injury and under what circumstances a contract can be terminated. It’s also important to understand the nature of the employer-employee relationship.
Many people think that they are employees of a company when they are independent contractors. Staff are covered under workers’ compensation, and independent contractors are typically not. The difference is whether the contractor is under the direct control of a specific employer or business. Coverage can also be approved if the worker was misclassified as an independent contractor at the time the illness or injury occurred.