Learn the difference

Workers’ Compensation vs. Employment Law

Despite their shared focus on employees and the workplace, Employment Law and Workers’ Compensation Law are distinct branches of the law. Workers’ Compensation Law surrounds on-the-job injury claims whereas Employment Law is related to how you are treated within the workplace.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to injured workers. In Washington state, it is handled by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), an agency that oversees distributing workers’ compensation benefits to employees who are injured at work or contract an occupational illness while performing their job. Watch our videos presented by Emery | Reddy, PLLC partner Patrick B. Reddy to learn more about L&I — workers compensation.

Workers Compensation 101:

Know Your Rights Video Explainers

Workers Compensation 101:

Know Your Rights FAQs

What Is Employment Law

Employment law in Washington state encompasses a broad range of regulations and protections designed to govern the relationship between employers and employees. Some of those protections for workers include the following rights:

  • Receiving equal pay for equal work
  • Receiving reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs, disability, or pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
  • Not being sexually harassed or discriminated against for your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 and above), disability, or genetic information.
  • Reporting discrimination or other labor violations without fear of retaliation.

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) protects workers further by ensuring that employees:

  • Work in a safe and healthy environment,
  • Receive meal and rest breaks,
  • Be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked,
  • Receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek,
  • Accrue and be allowed to use paid sick leave hours,
  • Be paid tips and service charges, and
  • Be able to discuss potential violations of these rights with your employer.

Your L&I Claim Is Worth More If You Also Have an Employment Claim

A significant number of L&I — workers’ compensation claims often involve additional legal claims such as employment or third-party claims. Many people file their claims without seeking representation from an L&I attorney and thus never discover that, in addition to their L&I claim, they may be missing out on the ability to file an employment claim or a third-party claim. Pursuing additional legal action with the help of an experienced Labor and Industries attorney has the potential to significantly increase a claim’s overall compensation. At Emery | Reddy, our experienced Attorneys practice both Employment and Workers’ Compensation Law, which means we will investigate all aspects of your claim to make sure you aren’t missing out on any potential benefits.

What Is an Employment Claim?

Many injured workers find that their employer has taken, or plans to take, adverse action against them because they filed an L&I claim or they are out of work. You can file a lawsuit against your employer for several reasons, including retaliation, wrongful termination, disability discrimination, or unpaid wages. An L&I attorney who is experienced in both L&I — Workers’ Compensation Law and Employment Law can help you with your L&I claim while simultaneously filing a federal or state law claim for the violation of workers’ rights by your employer.

Who Is at Fault for a Workplace Injury?

L&I is a no-fault system, ensuring compensation for any workplace injury. However, if a third party is involved in causing the injury, you may be able to pursue legal action against them for additional compensation under third-party claims.

How Do I Know If I Have a Strong L&I Claim?

If you have injured and mistreated at work and wonder if you should talk to an attorney about your L&I claim, ask yourself the following:

If any of the above apply to you, Emery | Reddy may be able to help.

Navigating a workers’ compensation claim can be difficult and very time-consuming, especially when you’re ill or injured. You want to focus on healing and make sure your bills are paid, but if you don’t file things properly or on time, your health, home, and job could be in jeopardy. Many individuals miss out on much-needed L&I benefits because they don’t understand what to do or how to get the most compensation for their injuries. If you are experiencing any challenges in your case, a Labor and Industries attorney can assist you. By contacting Emery | Reddy as soon as possible after you’ve been injured, we can help you avoid the common pitfalls of filing and navigating an L&I claim. Our Seattle L&I Attorneys are here for you every step of the way.

patrick reddy and timothy emery in downtown seattle

Emery | Reddy Can Help You with Your Workers’ Compensation or Employment Claim

Emery | Reddy is the only law firm in Washington state that is equipped to provide comprehensive representation on your case from every angle. Our Seattle Workers’ Compensation and Employment Law Attorneys thoroughly assess every case to determine if our clients have additional claims, and at times this can extend far beyond the underlying workers’ compensation claim.

If you have been injured or mistreated in the workplace, call Emery | Reddy today for a Free Case Review with an experienced Intake Specialist to learn more about how we may be able help you.

Want More Information?

Every day, hardworking employees across Washington state become victims of Employment Law violations, leaving them feeling ashamed, confused, angry, anxious, and afraid. Find out what you can do.

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to injured workers. Learn more about the claims process, benefits and awards, and IMEs.

Laws regarding personal injury and insurance are extremely complex. Find out the answers to your personal injury questions today.

We fight for you

Meet the Team

The Workers’ Compensation and Employment Law Attorneys at Emery | Reddy, PLLC are passionate about helping workers with L&I claims and Employment Law issues. We Help Workers®. It’s our motto and what drives us every day.

We know how L&I and big companies think, and we understand the tactics they use. Our Labor and Industries Attorneys use that knowledge coupled with over two decades of experience to help our clients get access to the L&I benefits to which they are legally entitled and hold employers accountable when they break the law.

If you’re struggling with an L&I claim, injury, or legal issue at work, call us for a Free Case Review with an experienced Intake Specialist to learn more about how Emery | Reddy may be able to help you today.

“I am so thankful for everything that my team did to get my health back...I couldn’t be where I am today...”

—Alyson F.

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