A Cure for Employer Retaliation

July 16, 2019

On July 9, MassCOSH and its Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative partners gathered at the State House for a public hearing to demand the passage of An Act Protecting Injured Workers (SD1182/HD2947). Too many workers face retaliation for seeking their right to care, resulting in workers avoiding filing for workers’ compensation. Currently, the law leaves workers largely unprotected when employers retaliate against employees. 
East Boston resident Maria [her name has been changed to protect her identity] submitted testimony regarding the retaliation she faced as a domestic worker.

“I had to do heavy lifting of cans filled with very heavy garbage, which caused a hernia in my stomach,” said Maria. “I started to feel a pain as if something pulled me inside until I got a ball in the stomach and in the end I went to the doctor and he told me it was a hernia and that I had to have an operation. When I told this to my boss she told me not to dare to say that it was caused by work. And if I dare to say something she was going to call immigration and it was going to send me back to my country. From that moment she began to behave worse with me, she treated me very badly giving me more work and making feel like I don’t deserve any medical attention because of my status.”
Due to intimidation, Maria never filed for workers' compensation benefits, but instead sought care that she and our social safety net paid for. 
An Act Protecting Injured Workers strengthens anti-retaliation law, finally providing a badly needed administrative complaint and investigation mechanism for workers experiencing retaliation and clearly addresses the types of employer misconduct that prevents workers from receiving timely benefits.