Getting Fired for Filing Workers’ Comp
Sustaining an injury or contracting an illness at work makes you eligible for workers’ compensation in most cases. The benefits cover your medical bills and usually about two-thirds of your normal pay, up to your state’s limits. If you sustain injuries that require significant time away from work, this can cause some issues with your job and your employer, especially if they need someone to take your place while you’re gone. Be aware that it illegal for your employer to fire you because you take workers’ comp, and if this is your experience, you may be able to take your case to court.
Many states allow employees to file a lawsuit against employers who are proven to have fired you unjustly, based on the fact that you decided to take workers’ comp. If your employer does not fire you, but decides to demote you, this can also be grounds for filing a claim against the company.
If your doctor orders you to take a certain amount of time off work and your employer decides to fire you during this period, you might be entitled to continued workers’ comp payments if you are considered permanently disabled to some degree and cannot physically perform the tasks you could before the injury.
Many states do not provide job protection while you’re out on workers’ compensation. If you expect to be out of work for a long time, such as a year or more, there is a chance your employer may want to replace you. This is within their legal rights.
There are a handful of states that will provide you with a short period of job protection, where your employer will either have to give you the position back, offer an equivalent position, or if you’re permanently disabled, offer a job which you can physically handle.
If you get back to work and need some form of lighter-duty tasks, and your employer becomes unable to accommodate your restrictions, or if there is another reason you lose the job due to an event out of your control such as the company going out of business or restructuring, you might be able to keep workers’ comp paycheck benefits for some period of time. These situations include strict rules you must meet to keep the benefits, including a certain amount of job searching.
Ensure Your Benefits
If you suspect your employer has terminated you because of your workers’ compensation claim and you can reasonably prove it was not due to a “legitimate” reason (poor job performance, misconduct, unexcused absence, etc), consult with experienced work injury lawyers in Milwaukee, WI. They can help you navigate your state’s laws and ensure your rights are protected.
Thanks to Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers’ compensation and getting fired for filing a claim.