The Impact of Florida Workers Compensation on Future Employment

When discussing their workplace accident with a Tampa workers comp lawyer, many injured employees wonder if filing a claim would have a negative impact on their career. They already fear that they may lose their job for filing a claim. The idea that it could negatively impact their future employment opportunities adds a new layer of anxiety to their situation.

Since this is a common question we receive on a daily basis, we decided to answer it in detail in this article. Here is what you need to know.

Federal Laws Prohibit Employers from Discriminating You

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission has clear guidelines concerning the discrimination against workers with disabilities or prior workers compensation claims. An employer cannot perform a background check for this specific aspect of your employment history.

Actually, your history of workers comp claim will be available only after a job offer was made and the employer prepares the paperwork to onboard you as an employee.

Can an Employer Ask about Your Past Workers Compensation Claims?

Again, federal equal employment opportunity laws (which supersede any state law) prohibit an employer from asking you about prior workers comp claims. You are well within your rights to refuse answering such a question if it is asked.

However, employers do not have to justify why they did not offer you a job. Unless you have evidence of discrimination (in writing or verbal with other witnesses present to support your claim) you cannot file a complaint.

A Potential Employer Can Ask about Specific Abilities

Although an employer cannot ask about your workers comp claim, they are well within their right to ask if you can perform specific job-related activities. For example, if you apply for a job in a warehouse, the employer can ask if you can lift weights and if you can withstand intense physical activity for the duration of the normal full-time hours.

At this point, you must be honest and disclose any medical condition or previous injuries (work-related or not) that prevent you from performing these activities.

a workers comp claim should not have a negative impact on your career

How to Make Sure Your Workers Comp History Does Not Affect Future Jobs

When you discuss with a Tampa workers comp lawyer about your case, we will advise you to be 100% honest and upfront. Do not exaggerate any aspect of your workplace accident and do not lie about how it happened, when and where.

Such conduct will not only get your workers comp claim dismissed, but it will also impact your future employment opportunities. You must always remember the following:

1. Do Not Include Negative Remarks about Your Employer in the Claim Form

The First Report of Injury Form includes a section where the employee must describe the accident. Many workers use this section to vent their unhappiness with their employer and the work environment. This is neither smart, nor useful.

First of all, if you have genuine concerns, you can report OSHA violations at your workplace. Secondly, the report you file becomes a public record and can be accessed by others, including your current and future employers.

Thirdly, the insurance company will use your remarks as evidence that you are actively trying to harm your employer, including by filing a false workers comp claim.

2. Describe What Happened Clearly and Accurately

A workplace accident is an unexpected incident and will cause you pain and discomfort. However, you must not exaggerate your symptoms – either physical or related to your mental and emotional health. Even if somehow your claim gets approved, your employer will mark your behavior and specify it when a future employer contacts them to check your references.

3. Evaluate Your Future Work Abilities Honestly

Finally, if you are left with a partial disability or you realize that a specific type of work makes you prone to accidents, do not pursue it in the future. Vocational rehabilitation is available as part of workers comp benefits, so you can retrain for a new job.

Consult with an Experienced Tampa Workers Comp Lawyer about Your Workplace Accident!

A Tampa workers comp lawyer is the most reliable source of legal information about your workplace accident. We will analyze your evidence and tell you if you have a valid claim. If we accept your case, we will guide you during the claim process, so that you avoid mistakes that could hurt you both at the present and in future employment situations.

Call us to schedule a free case evaluation at 954-324-COMP!

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