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You work hard day after day, putting in long hours for a paycheck. Providing your family with a home, food and clothing is where your money goes. You consider your work somewhat hazardous, but never think you may get hurt.

Whatever the accident you have at the workplace, your employer may be able to help you with getting workers’ comp. However, you may experience some pushback if your boss does not agree with how you sustained your injury. The employer may even fire you. Do you have recourse? Here are some facts about retaliation in the workplace and what you can do to remedy your situation.

Employer discrimination and retaliation

Although an employer can fire you for not working because of an injury, they cannot fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Under the North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 95, Article 21, employers cannot discriminate or take retaliatory actions against an employee who:

  • Files a complaint
  • Initiates an investigation or inspection
  • Testifies or provides information to any person

Examples of retaliatory or discriminatory action from the employer may include discharge, suspension, demotion or wage cut.  You may file a complaint with the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Bureau. The complaint process works by:

  1. You fill out a complaint form in writing and sign it. File it within 180 days of the last discriminatory or retaliatory act.
  2. Your employer will receive a copy of the complaint. The bureau assigns an investigator to your case.
  3. The investigator will contact both you and your employer for facts, documents and statements. The investigator may contact other witnesses.
  4. The bureau makes a decision on your case.

The bureau will find if there is Merit or No Merit. You and your employer will receive notice of the decision. If there is a No Merit finding, the court may give you a Right-to-Sue letter, which allows you to sue your employer in civil court. If the judgment warrants Merit, the Commissioner of Labor may file a suit in Superior Court.