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Mass layoffs can increase risk of Massachusetts work injuries or mask retaliatory firing in workers’ compensation cases

The economic downturn has lead to an unprecedented number of mass layoffs, which can mask illegal labor practices, including an employer’s attempt to shed itself of workers who have filed injury claims.

Our Massachusetts work injury lawyers fight for the rights of clients who have been injured on the job or who have been fired in retaliation for filing a work injury claim.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 1,412 mass layoffs occurred in May, resulting in the termination of 135,789 employees. In each case, at least 50 jobs were eliminated. In the 30 months since the economic downturn began — from December 2007 to May 2010 — a total of 60,205 mass layoffs have resulted in the dismissal of more than 6 million employees.

Employers who use layoffs to dismiss injured workers, or workers who have voiced concern about dangerous job conditions, have likely violated the law. Layoffs also pose a number of safety concerns for workers who remain on the job. Fewer employees can increase the demand for productivity and can lead to other safety hazards. Reduced training and the threat of job loss can also put workers at increased risk while making employees hesitant about bringing safety concerns to the attention of management.

Most troubling of all, the threat of layoffs can discourage an employee from filing a work injury claim in the event of an accident, which can have serious consequences. Workers who are injured on the job are entitled to collect through a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim. However workers’ compensation has strict reporting requirements and other mandates; failure to follow the guidelines can leave an injured employee without the ability to collect. Additionally, many work accidents, including back and neck injuries or exposure to harmful chemicals, can result in medical complications months or even years after the event. In such cases, a worker who has failed to follow the proper procedures in reporting an injury, may not be entitled to collect compensation even if he or she needs additional medical care or becomes disabled as a result of an injury while on the job in Massachusetts.

There are strict laws that prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who are injured on the job or who report dangerous work conditions. These workers may not be dismissed under the guise of a downsizing. Consulting a Boston work injury lawyer can help protect your rights.

If you have been injured on the job in Massachusetts, contact Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.