Workers have basic rights. Employers must provide certain things to and for their employees. For one, employers must compensate employees for their work. Employers must pay for a job performed, and many workers receive perks in addition to their paycheck.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)also notes that you are entitled to a safe workplace. Furthermore, if you were injured on the job, you have the right to compensation. Obtaining these benefits is usually never a problem.
You Have Options If Your Employer Fired You Unlawfully
There are instances in which you may not agree with your employee’s decisions and consider them unlawful. However, that is not always the case. For example, due to Georgia’s at-will employment law, employers can fire you without any reason.
If you believe that you were terminated unfairly , you may dispute this decision and file a wrongful termination claim. Generally speaking, if an employer breaks a law that hurts the employee, remedies are available.
What to Do When Your Employer Wrongfully Terminates You
Because Georgia is an at-will state, your employer doesn’t have to have a reason for firing you. However, it can be illegal to terminate an employee in some instances. You might have grounds to file a wrongful termination claim for:
- Breach of contract: If your boss fired you for reasons that are not expressed in your employee contract
- Discrimination: If you were fired due to your sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or disability
- Workers’ compensation: If you were hurt at work and your employer doesn’t want to pay your workers’ compensation benefits
- Retaliation: If you reported your employer for partaking in an unjust activity
- Working overtime: If your employer refuses to pay your overtime wages in violation of the Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act
- Family leave: If your employer terminates you for taking time off your maternity or another type of family leave
In most cases, you must file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commissions (EEOC) within 180 days of your termination. EEOC will investigate the situation and determine if your termination was unlawful. If it was, you could receive back pay and could be reinstated to your job.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
Georgia Employee Workers’ Compensation Rights That Protect You When Working
If you were injured on the job, the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights provides you with certain rights.
These rights include:
- Medical, rehabilitation, and income (⅔ of their average weekly wages) benefit
- Dependents may also be eligible for benefits (for example, if a worker dies due to an on-the-job injury, the beneficiaries will receive burial and funeral expenses and ⅔ of the worker’s pay)
- An employer must provide and post a panel of physicians that the employee may use to treat workers’ compensation injuries. However, employees are allowed to change doctors one time without permission.
- Workers are entitled to benefits if they are out of work for seven or more due to an injury that happened at work. They can receive benefits for up to 400 weeks in non-catastrophic cases.
- If an employee cannot perform his original job due to the injury, he is entitled to benefits that provide the difference in pay.
- If the employee does not receive payment when it is due, the insurance company or employer must pay the penalty to the employee.
Responsibilities of Workers Under Workers’ Compensation
Employees must also abide by the responsibilities set forth by law.
- Employees must follow the safety rules and other company policies and procedures.
- Employees must report any accident immediately to the employer. The report must be within 30 days of the incident, per O.C.G.A. § 34-9-80
- Employees must accept treatment by the physician and follow the treatment guidelines that the doctor provides.
- Employees must work with the insurance provider to ensure that documents are up to date.
- Employees must seek approval by the physician for job reinstatement, even if the job has lower pay than the original position.
- Employees must file a claim within a year if they think their compensation is not fair.
- Employees must submit to drug testing after an accident. If they refuse the test, the employer’s insurance company could determine that the accident was caused by drug or alcohol use.
Setting a Good Example – Will Other Employers Follow?
Most businesses play by the rules, protecting health and safety on the job and paying fairly and by the law. In the following story of an employer doing the right thing, the need for special equipment for city workers who inspect gas main breaks is recognized.
Unfortunately, many employers do not have the same proactive policies to protect their employees.
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The Construction Industry Is Among the Most Dangerous in the Country
One common cause of a gas main break is damage sustained due to excavation during a construction project. Construction work is dangerous, and the excavation often involved in a construction project is one of the most hazardous activities associated with this industry.
Excavations are usually a necessary component of a construction project, so the dangers associated with it cannot be ignored. Instead, construction companies must find a way to perform this type of work in the safest manner possible.
What Measures Can Be Taken?
OSHA lists the following excavation requirements in its Safety and Health Information Bulletin entitled Hazards Associated with Striking Underground Gas Lines. These are designed to protect employees and prevent accidental damage to underground utility installations:
- Determine the location of underground installations before beginning excavation.
- Contact utility companies or owners for information about the location of underground installations within local response times.
- If utility companies or owners cannot provide a response within 24 hours to your request for this information, employers may proceed with caution using acceptable equipment or other means to detect the location of utility installations.
- As you get closer to the expected location of underground installations, determine their exact location.
- Underground installations need to be supported or removed as necessary during the excavation work to keep employees safe.
Compliance with these requirements will not prevent every excavation accident, but adherence will go a long way in making a dangerous work activity less hazardous.
Ways Your Employment Law Attorney Can Help You
Navigating the legal system can be difficult and time-consuming. Your main focus should be healing from your injuries and taking time for yourself. You may want to retain a lawyer to handle all aspects of your workplace case for you.
- Access and gather evidence
- Interview witnesses
- Meet deadlines
- Help file an appeal
- Lead settlement negotiations
- Represent you during the legal process from start to finish
They may even work for you on a no-win, no-fee basis.
When Trouble Arises, Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Is Here to Help
When a workplace accident happens, or you were wrongfully terminated, you want to turn to someone you can trust. The attorneys at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers are here to help with different types of worker-related matters. We will review the facts of your case and guide you to the right path to justice, securing the best benefits for your situation.
The law limits the time you have after an accident occurs to take action. So, contact us for a free, no-obligation case review and to learn about basic employee rights. Help us to help you in your time of need. Call our firm today at (404) 888-8888.