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Are You Being Harassed While on Light Duty?

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    Are You Being Harassed While on Light Duty?

    If you suffer a workplace injury, you may also end up facing workers' comp harassment from your employer or manager for claiming benefits. In every case, this sort of bad treatment is forbidden by Washington State law and federal law. Yet it occurs with frightening regularity.

    If you are facing discrimination at work in Bellevue while engaged in light duty and receiving benefits, a Seattle workers' compensation attorney can help you seek damages for the poor treatment you have received.

    What Exactly Is Light-Duty Work?

    workers compensation discrimination

    Light-duty work consists of tasks that are less psychologically or physically demanding than normal.

    Employers offer light-duty jobs to get workers back into the workforce and must follow guidelines set forth by the physician treating the injured worker. Some common restrictions that light-duty workers might have include:

    • No repetitive motions involving gripping and grasping;
    • No use of tools or equipment that pound or vibrate;
    • No typing for workers suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome;
    • No bending, stooping, or twisting;
    • No long periods of driving;
    • No long periods of sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, or walking.

    Sadly, some employers push their injured workers past the limits put in place by physicians, and workers can end up suffering further injuries and losses.

    Types of Discrimination After a Work Injury

    Injured employees must often face various types of workplace harassment, some of which could be illegal. If you have experienced any of the following types of harassment while on workers' comp, contact an experienced employment discrimination lawyer.

    Being Singled Out

    workers compensation harassment

    Employers might single out an injured employee for claiming worker's comp benefits. Treatment might include the denial of promotions, firing, and the assigning of substandard work duties.

    Retaliatory Harassment

    Retaliatory harassment occurs when an employer seeks to punish a worker for filing for benefits. The employer might engage in various retaliatory actions, such as failing to promote a worker, firing them, or paying them less than they deserve.

    On-the-Job Harassment While on Workers' Comp

    Workers' compensation employer harassment refers to unwanted conduct, such as verbal and physical abuse. It might also include actions meant to turn other employers against the injured employee and lead to extreme cases of workers' compensation bullying and harassment.

    Failure to Provide Accommodations

    workers comp harassment

    Employers are often required to provide injured workers with accommodations that allow them to return to work. These accommodations, such as assistive technology, adjusted work schedules, and modified workstations, help injured workers earn money while still disabled and receiving benefits.


    Stereotyping in the workers' comp context typically refers to actions that are meant to demean a person for being disabled. Jokes and mocking behavior are common forms of stereotyping, and other employees often join in on the behavior.

    What Can Federal Employees Do About Harassment?

    Federal discrimination laws protect employees from workers' comp discrimination, such as the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Federal employees can also avail themselves of the protections afforded by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).

    Federal employees should explain to their employers the medical restrictions they are under. If an employer retaliates or fails to make proper accommodations, a worker can seek compensation for their losses.

    What Should I Do If I Am Facing Discrimination After a Work Injury in Seattle?

    Workers have the right to engage in light or modified work without repercussions from their employers. If you are facing discrimination at work after an injury, take the following steps to get justice.

    Understand Your Rights

    workplace harassment after injury

    The first step in doing something about harassment is understanding your rights. For one, you have the right to file a workers' compensation claim without fear of retaliation. You also have the right to engage in light work when appropriate, and your employer must make the appropriate accommodations whenever possible.

    Document the Harassment

    If you want to take legal action, you will need to document every instance of harassment that you experience. Keeping a harassment journal is helpful, as is saving all texts, emails, and other forms of communication that contain harassing speech.

    Make Your Case Known

    Don't remain silent if you are dealing with harassment workers' compensation. Inform your employer every time you are harassed or denied proper accommodations. By speaking up, you put your employer on notice. Doing so may also give other discriminated workers the courage to step forward.

    Find a Support System

    harassment while on workers comp

    If you are experiencing harassment, you will need support, which could come from other workers or a sympathetic manager or supervisor. If you have no support at work, you can find support from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

    Speak with an Attorney

    Seek legal representation if discrimination rears its head at your place of employment, and your attorney will assess whether or not the discrimination is illegal and whether you can receive damages.

    Contact Lehmbecker Law Today

    If you’ve been searching "harassment in workplace due to workers' compensation", you are not alone. You have the right to be free of retaliatory harassment for filing a workers' compensation claim when you return to light-duty work. If harassment is occurring, don't quit your job right away, as doing so may lead to a loss of benefits.

    Instead, reach out to the team at Lehmbecker Law for representation. Our attorneys are ready to help you deal with the stress you are experiencing. Contact us today for a free consultation.

    Contact Lehmbecker Law Today

    Facing Harassment On Light Duty?

    Our legal team will protect your rights and hold negligent parties accountable. Contact us today.

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    Larry A. Lehmbecker
    Firm Founder, Larry Lehmbecker, has nearly 40 year’s of experience fighting for the injured in Washington State. He is always eager to share his knowledge to help those in need.
    Contact Lehmbecker Law Today
    Our attorneys and paralegals have decades of experience to help ensure you get the proper treatment for your injuries
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