If you recently sustained injuries as a result of your work, you probably have the right to apply for workers’ compensation benefits but may fear retaliation from your employer. Missouri law bans reprisal against employees for filing workers’ compensation claims.
It may be difficult to distinguish retribution from normal managerial behavior, but there are certain actions that may constitute it when done in response to a claim.
1. Terminating your employment
The most obvious form of retaliation is firing you solely for filing a claim or for absences related to your injury or illness given you are not able to continue working with restrictions (as certified by a physician). Termination based on other disciplinary issues that pre-date the injury or illness does not count as retaliation.
2. Forcing you into a different position
Suddenly moving you to a different role or assigning you new responsibilities for a reason related to your claim other than accomodating your sickness or wound is also retaliation. So is demoting you or reducing your wages.
3. Disciplining you for no reason or unreasonable reasons
Your employer may not punish you for filing for workers’ compensation benefits. They also may not arbitrarily manufacture fictional reasons to do so.
The only behavior that adversely affects your work constitutes retaliation. Your employer displaying sudden coldness or otherwise treating you differently does not if it does not fall into this category. If you are able to prove that your employer performs such actions in response to you applying for benefits, you may be able to take steps against them such as filing a lawsuit. Note though that if you work for the government, due to sovereign immunity you may not be able to receive damages for retaliation.