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Missouri offers employees protection in workers' compensation

In some work places, employees are subject to injuries on the job. Some workers who are involved in a workplace accident sustain permanent injuries as a result of these events. When workers are injured on the job, they are generally entitled to receive workers' compensation, but some Missouri employers may have terminated workers out of retaliation. Now, if injured workers are terminated out of retaliation for workers' compensation claims, they only need to meet a certain burden of proof.

For 30 years, courts determined that cause needed to be exclusive for retaliation claims. Previously, injured employees who were terminated were required to provide evidence that the exclusive reason for loss of employment was due to a workers' compensation claim. Now, under the new law, injured employees will only need to show that workers' compensation claims were a contributing factor to being terminated.

Since the new law, employees have an easier time with being successful in their cases. Employers initially stated that decreasing the burden of proof would make it harder for them to carry out actions regarding employment following workers' compensation claims. According to the Missouri Human Rights Act, any violation, including wrongful termination, is rightfully associated with workers' compensation retaliation claims.

Workers who suffered from any type of work-related injury may experience ongoing medical issues and elect to file for workers' compensation benefits to help cover the inevitable expenses. A number of Missouri employers frowned upon this and quickly dismissed employees who filed these claims. The new law prevents adverse or retaliatory actions following the filing of workers' compensation.

Source: The National Law Review, "Missouri Supreme Court Lowers Burden of Proof For Workers' Compensation Retaliation Claims", Jennifer L. Arendes, Michael B. Kass, Shelley I. Ericsson, Jovita M. Foster, John P. Hasman, and Robert A. Kaiser, April 29, 2014

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