Senate Committee Kills Workers Comp Retaliation Bill

Feb 15, 2021

Senators rejected a House bill that would prevent employers from retaliating against their employees.

Lawmakers recently approved a bill that's now law preventing employers from retaliating against employees who report wage theft.

This year Delegate Lee Carter, a Democrat from Manassas, introduced a similar bill that would prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who file a worker's compensation claim.  "House Bill 1754 addresses a problem that is very commonly incurred by working people in the Commonwealth," Carter told a Senate committee.  "So commonly in fact that in the building trades there's a joke for it which is when you fall off a ladder, you are fired for it before you hit the ground."

The bill passed the House. But senators are uncomfortable with part of the bill that would have created a cause of action against employers who take action based on a belief that a worker might file a claim.

Republican Senator Steve Newman of Bedford County says that goes too far. "This is going to turn everything on its head and everything that you do is going to be held that it was done because you were intending to do something that was retaliatory."

Several Senate Democrats joined Republican senators on the Commerce and Labor Committee to kill Carter's bill.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.