Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Can an Employer Fire You After a Workers’ Comp Claim?
About three-quarters of all workers in the United States are considered at-will employees. This means that your employer can fire you at any time, unless they are firing you for a reason that is against the law, such as discrimination. Unionized employees generally have some contract protections against at-will employment, as do some public sector jobs, but most people are considered at-will employees. You can’t be terminated for filing a workers’ compensation claim if you’re injured at work. It is illegal. That doesn’t mean your employer can’t fire you while you’re on workers’ comp. The employer just needs to claim that it wasn’t retaliation for filing a worker’s comp claim. Here are some things to know about workers’ comp.
What if the Injury Was Your Fault?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that if you are injured on the job, you can claim workers’ compensation, regardless of how the injury occurred. There are few cases in which you may not get any benefits. If you were injured in a fight in which you were the aggressor, your benefits may be denied. But for most on-the-job injuries, you are covered under workers’ compensation. The thing to remember is that your employer may use your negligence to show that you didn’t perform the job correctly. This could be used to fire you. Getting fired doesn’t mean you can’t claim workers’ compensation though.
What If You Lose Your Job After Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim is illegal. Most employers won’t come out and identify that they fired someone for filing a workers’ comp claim, but they may come up with another reason. You may need to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney about your claim to help gather evidence about your firing to demonstrate that it was retaliation instead of some other reason.
What If You Can’t Return to Your Job Due to Your Injuries?
If your injuries are so bad that you can’t return to your job after medical involvement, your employer can fire you if you run out of leave. You may be able to use your own vacation and personal time, as well as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to hold your job open for a few more weeks, but your employer doesn’t have to keep your job open indefinitely under workers’ compensation. You may still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits even if you are terminated.
If you feel that you have been terminated wrongfully or discriminatorily, consider contacting an experienced employment discrimination lawyer in your area. The legal team at Eric Siegel Law has proven experience representing clients who are victims of employment discrimination.