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How the Threat of Employer Retaliation Discourages Agricultural Workers from Filing Workers’ Compensation Claims in Pennsylvania

Workers’ compensation is a form of no-fault insurance that employers are required to carry for their employees. It provides a safety net for those who are injured on the job, giving them the promise of reimbursement of medical expenses and the replacement of lost wages in exchange for the loss of ability to file a personal injury or negligence lawsuit against their employer. In the state of Pennsylvania, most employers are required to carry this insurance, but there are some notable exceptions, and this includes many agricultural employers. The state does not exempt all agricultural employees from access to workers’ compensation, but there are strict guidelines that outline who is and who is not required to provide this coverage for their employees. Making matters even more frustrating is the fact that even when coverage is provided, some workers are hesitant about filing a claim for fear of being fired. If you are an agricultural worker, you need to know your rights – in many cases a lack of knowledge is how the threat of employer retaliation discourages agricultural workers from filing workers’ compensation claims in Pennsylvania.

In the state of Pennsylvania, employers who hire agricultural workers are required to provide workers’ compensation if they pay even one worker wages of $1,200 or more. They are also required to provide this coverage if the employ even one agricultural worker for thirty or more days in a calendar year. But even in cases where this coverage is offered, there are several factors that can prevent injured workers from filing a claim for the benefits to which they are entitled. These include concerns about benefits being denied to workers who are undocumented and the difficulty in having an employer-endorsed physician sign off on the need to recuperate. In some cases, a worker may be afraid that their employer will retaliate against them for filing a claim. Retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim most frequently takes the form of firing an employee within days or weeks of a claim being filed, and this is obviously enough to be an effective deterrent against filing a claim. It is bad enough for a worker to have to pay for medical expenses without also having to face the fear of having their entire economic support system.

If you have been injured in the course of your work for an agricultural employer and are concerned about filing a workers’ compensation claim, you need a knowledgeable attorney to help you navigate the system. Likewise, if your position has been terminated after having filed a claim for workers’ comp benefits, then you may be the victim of retaliation. In either case, you need a powerful and aggressive advocate who will stand up for your rights and make sure that you get what you deserve. Vanasse Law is a Lancaster law firm that specializes in protecting the rights of injured workers. Call us today to learn how we can help.