Every company has specific rules for how business needs to be performed, but a lot of employees have found some shortcuts that save time and get the job done. Problems occur when these shortcuts in standard practice lead to problems or injuries. Problems can typically be fixed, but what if you were breaking company policy when you suffered an injury? Can you still file for and receive workers’ compensation?
Company Policy and Your Rights To Workers’ Compensation
Many workers who suffer an injury while cutting corners or outright breaking company policy feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. If you lie about the way your injury occurred, your benefits may be denied, and if you blatantly broke company policy, there’s a chance you could get fired. So what should you do?
For starters, as long as you were performing work duties at the time of the injury, there’s a good chance you can get workers’ compensation, even if your actions were against company policy. In order for a judge to deny workers’ compensation benefits, three factors must be examined. The three factors are:
- The worker suffered an injury when performing an act that was expressly prohibited by the company;
- The violation could not be reasonably foreseen by the employer; and
- The violation of the prohibited act resulted in injury.
Even if those factors are present, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be denied benefits. A work comp judge will look at the totality of the circumstances to determine whether or not the employee could receive benefits. For example, a recent case here in Minnesota found that an employee was eligible for workers’ compensation after stepping across a pallet and injuring himself, even though company policy stated that employees were not to walk across pallets. Even though it was expressly prohibited, the courts ruled that supervisors did not hold employees accountable for walking across pallets and they did not actively discourage the behavior, so it was not unreasonable that the employee stepped on a pallet, even though it was prohibited by the employee handbook. He received compensation for his injuries.
There is the possibility that you could be fired for violating company rules, but an employer cannot fire you for filing for compensation. If you believe that you are being fired as a retaliatory action because you filed for benefits, make sure you speak to a workers’ compensation law firm like Hey Workers.
In fact, that’s the best piece of advice we can give if you’ve been injured while violating company policy. We can help make your case and ensure you get the compensation benefits your deserve, and you’re going to want someone in your corner when all the details come out. It may feel overwhelming and you may not know where to turn, but you can trust us to help guide you down the right path. For more information or for assistance with your workers’ compensation case, regardless of whether you were following company policy at the time, contact Hey Workers today.