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Minnesota law protects workers after a workplace accident

Immediately after suffering a work-related injury, an employee's head might be swirling with questions: Will I have to take time away from work to recover? How will I make ends meet if I’m on leave? What will happen to my job while I'm recovering?

Given that many people rely on a job to support their loved ones, this is a natural reaction. Through all of this, the important thing to remember is that Minnesota law generally provides protection to injured workers. Not only does statute open the door to workers' compensation benefits in the wake of an accident, but the law also protects individuals' jobs.

A recent legal challenge involving a Minnesota worker illustrates one way that the law falls on the side of the employee. The legal claim involved a man who suffered multiple on-the-job injuries.

Reports indicate that the Minnesota man, an appliance delivery worker, developed an elbow injury. His doctor recommended that he refrain from working in order to recuperate, but his supervisor badgered him into returning early. Eventually, the injury worsened and the man needed surgery. Although the man was eligible for and received workers' compensation, his boss threatened him to back away from retaining legal counsel. As a result of his lingering injuries, the worker was eventually terminated.

Ultimately, a court found in favor of the employee. The ruling affirmed that employees cannot face retaliation for requesting or receiving workers' compensation benefits. Although the law is pretty clear on this issue, it's understandable why an employee might feel pressure to comply with his or her employer's insistence on denying medical leave or benefits.

The hope is that the Minnesota man involved in this case has finally been able to make a full recovery. Moving forward, this case could serve as a solid reminder to employers throughout the state to adhere to the law and provide injured employees with the support they deserve.

Source: Business Management Daily, "Warn bosses: Don’t punish for workers’ comp," April 17, 2014

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