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California worker reports back injury; employer retaliates

It is bad enough to hurt your back while on the job. But when your employer then retaliates against you for reporting the work injury, you have unneeded problem piled on top of your pain and injury. It's also the kind of problem that can get your employer in trouble with the federal government.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently ordered Union Pacific Railroad to pay a California worker $100,000 to compensate him for the retaliation and to punish the company for its repeated mistreatment of employees.

OSHA said the retaliation "follows a pattern of behavior by Union Pacific toward its injured employees."

The company had charged the employee with causing the injury by not using proper lifting techniques when he hurt his back. It then suspended him without pay for an entire work week.

As virtually everyone knows, virtually everyone experiences back pain at some point in their life. It's not at all an unusual medical condition that typically involves a strain or sprain to muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Most people can recuperate within a couple of weeks of the injury with proper treatment. That means seeing a doctor, doing some physical therapy and generally taking it easy for awhile so that your back gets a chance to heal, the Cleveland Clinic says.

If you have injured your back on your Coachella Valley job, and then been denied deserved workers' compensation benefits, it makes sense to speak with a workers' comp attorney familiar with the appeals process. An experienced attorney can help you navigate a complex system, help you assemble needed documentation and witnesses, and then present your case at the compensation hearing.

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