Injured Worker Rights

When an employee is injured at work, they have rights that many employers (especially smaller employers) fail to disclose to the employee.  You have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim.  You have a right to seek medical care if you believe it is necessary (this includes leaving the workplace to do so).  After your injury, you have a right to only perform job duties within restrictions provided to you by your doctor.  You do not have to use your personal insurance for medical care unless the worker’s compensation claim is denied.

ORS 659A.040, makes it illegal for an employer of 6 or more employees to discriminate or retaliate against an employee, because they are injured at work.  Common ways that employers discriminate and retaliate against employees are making them perform duties outside of their restrictions, making employees do demeaning jobs while they have medical restrictions, not providing an 801 accident report form to employees that are injured, not complying with their duties to provide the paperwork to the insurance provider, making fun of or belittling employees that are injured, issuing a written warning to the injured worker, and terminating the injured workers’ employment.

ORS 659A.043 applies to employers with at least 21 employees and requires that if you are unable to do your job duties due to a work related injury, when you are released to full duties you are entitled to your job back in certain circumstances.  The right to reinstatement lasts for three years from the date of injury.  The employer must return you to your job at the time of injury even if they hired someone else to fill it while you were unable to do the job.  There are very short deadlines for requesting the reinstatement that must be met or you can lose your right to reinstatement.

ORS 659A.046 also applies to employers with at least 21 employees and requires that if you are unable to return to your position at the time of injury due to permanent restrictions, the employee has a right to an available position that the employee can do with the permanent restrictions. There are very short deadlines for requesting the reemployment that must be met or you can lose your right to reemployment.

If you are an injured worker, and believe you are being treated unfairly, you should contact an attorney immediately to determine what rights you have and to make sure that your employer is not violating the law.  Employees frequently wait too long to seek legal counsel and by the time they do their rights have expired. (posted 2-28-17)

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