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Patrick, Esq.
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Is filing compensation a protected activity? i.e If a

Customer Question

Is filing for workers compensation a protected activity? i.e If a employer retaliates against an employee by giving them a negative Supervisor's Endorsement that would disqualify the employee from another position that they are qualified for and they have another Supervisor's Endorsement that shows higher qualification's from a former manager. Along with other things, would that establish retaliation for filing for workers compensation and be considered a protected activity? What statue would it be covered under and how would someone seek a remedy.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Regrettably, Georgia is one of the few states that does not have a statute which expressly makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers comp claim. Georgia courts have examined the argument that termination in retaliation for a workers comp claim is actionable on a "public policy" theory" and have uniformly rejected this theory. See Evans v. Bibb Co., 178 Ga. App. 139, 140, 342 S.E.2d 484, 486 (1986), in which the court stated as follows:

"Appellant argues he was wrongfully discharged for pursuing his rights under the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act, OCGA § 34-9-1 et seq. ("Act"), and urges this court to adopt a public policy exception to an employer's right to discharge an employee at will when the right is exercised in retaliation for the employee's assertion of his rights under the Act. . . .Although many states have adopted such a policy . . .Georgia courts have refused to acknowledge any exceptions not encompassed by OCGA § 34-7-1, . . .and, in the absence of any express statutory provision for such a civil remedy in the Act, we decline appellant's invitation to create judicially such a remedy. Courts may interpret laws, but may not change them."

Since filing a workers comp claim is not a legally protected activity, and since employment in GA is "at will" absent an agreement to the contrary and thus can be modified or terminated at any time for virtually any reason, it would not typically be illegal for your employer to engage in the conduct you describe, even if you could prove it was because you filed a workers comp claim. Therefore, this is not a circumstance in which you would generally have any legal recourse.

I hope that you find this information helpful and am genuinely sorry if it is not what you were hoping to hear. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your quick response. Would it make a difference that I'm a federal employee.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply and followup. Workers comp is regulated on the state level, not federal. Therefore, federal statutes unfortunately do not make workers comp retaliation unlawful. I wish I had better news. If I can provide any further clarification just let me know.