Do I need EEOC? Can I possibly file a claim against my employer myself? I already have an attorney for the workers comp.

Asked about 1 year ago - Atlanta, GA

I was burned 3 separate times at my job . The 1st occurrence left three 2nd degree burns and the 2nd and 3rd occurrence each left one 2nd degree burn . I had to go to the hospital for the 3rd burn . My very next shift back to work , they fired me . They claimed they were firing me for performance issues , but I had NEVER heard anything before regarding any performance issues . I believe I was fired because I used workers comp and also because I stated on my questionnaire that the burn could have been prevented if oven mitts had been provided . I previously , before the burnings occurred , complained that I didn't feel comfortable sticking my hand in an oven without mitts . I think I was retaliated against because I was fired the very next shift after going to the hospital .

Additional information

My workers comp attorney said my employer has already asked what they need to do in order to take care of this matter, but my attorney said that I really need to move fast on the retaliation suit because he said that the employer will want me to sign something with the workers comp case stating that I will not be able to file any future claims of any sort against my employer. I want to have them settle both cases at the same time if possible, or still have an option to sue for retaliation at a future date...

Attorney answers (8)

  1. Harold W. Whiteman Jr.

    Contributor Level 12

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Georgia is an employment at will state which means that your employer can let you go for almost any reason. And Georgia law does not recognize a cause of action for termination due to your bringing a comp claim. You can consult with an employment law attorney for more information.

  2. Brendon Shawn Rhodes

    Contributor Level 11

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I would speak with your workers' compensation attorney regarding this issue. She will be able to direct you as to how to proceed. In the alternative, I would contact the local OSHA office as they are usually very helpful with regards to filing a charge. I do not believe this is an EEOC issue as there does not appear to be any discriminatory issue.

  3. Thomas L. Holder

    Contributor Level 10

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortunately, in Georgia, there is no law against retaliatory discharge. That means that you have no protection from being fired after you have filed a WC suit.

    Although your WC attorney is correct that your employer will want you to waive your rights to bring any other case against them when you settle your WC case, your WC attorney should insist that you will not settle your WC case if you have to give up your rights to pursue your EEOC case. Your WC attorney should protect you so that you can proceed with your EEOC claim, if one exists.

    I would discuss the EEOC claim with a lawyer who specializes in those types of cases as I am not in a position to say if your situation qualifies.

    Good luck and I am sorry about your burns. I know they can be very painful. Good luck.

  4. Robert M. Gardner Jr.

    Contributor Level 18

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree that this does not sound like an EEOC issue unless you feel the firing was due to race, sex, age, etc. and it did not sound like one of those was the reason. I have seen some worker's comp cases where a firing may have violated the Americans with Disabilities act, but that does not sound like your situation either. Unemployment is an option when you are terminated for no good cause, but you would want to discuss that with your Worker's Comp attorney to make sure there would be no complications with doing so. Also, re-post your question here on AVVO under employment law and give some more details.

    The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base... more
  5. Roderick R. Jones

    Contributor Level 5

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . From what you have described, it does not appear to have the required "discrimination" for an EEOC claim. Claims for retaliation under EEOC are for questionable actions against an employee who has filed a claim for discrimination or participated in a discrimination claim. You should consult an employment law attorney to be certain that this is correct.

  6. Robert G. Rothstein

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You can file an EEOC claim by yourself but be sure to read and follow all rules and meet all deadlines. You may contact me through my website if you need help after the EEOC probably turns you down

    Robert G. Rothstein
    Attorney at Law
    www.rgrothsteinlaw.com

    Disclaimer: This response is provided to you for educational and informational purposes only and no attorney-... more
  7. John M Connell

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, go to EEOC . Retaliation claims are something they look closely at but ypu have to pursue that within 180 days so dont delay.

  8. Alan Dean Tysinger

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I would definitely recommend consulting an attorney. You can handle a matter yourself but the biggest issue in cases like that is to avoid doing something in one case to screw up the other case inadvertently.

    Whenever you have a case based upon injury and disability, versus a case that is based on lost wages due to termination and/or discrimination, then they are by nature going to be parasitic on each other.

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