When you suffer from a work-related injury or medical condition, you can take comfort in knowing that the benefits you receive after filing a workers’ compensation claim can alleviate much of your financial stress until you are ready to work again, as a workers compensation lawyer, like from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, can explain. Unfortunately, many injured workers fear their employers’ retaliation if they file a claim. Answers to the following questions can help to clarify your rights.
Can My Employer Fire Me?
No employer is happy about an insurance premium increase following a workers’ compensation claim; however, it is illegal for your employer to fire you for filing a claim after a work-related injury or illness.
Can I Be Terminated Legally?
It is not against the law for an employer to terminate your employment following a workers’ compensation claim for the following reasons.
- Company-wide layoffs that include other employees
- Business closure
- Your ongoing poor job performance
- Your ongoing disciplinary problems
An Employer should take great care when considering severance timing because unless there is an indisputably valid reason for your discharge while you are away on short-term disability leave, you may want to take legal action, whether or not you work in an at-will employment state.
Sometimes, an employer is legitimately unable to offer you a job when you return from disability leave if permanent work restrictions disqualify you from all positions within an organization. An employer may have no choice other than to terminate your employment. Workers’ compensation insurance could pay to train you for a more suitable vocation, or you may qualify for long-term disability coverage or a pension, depending upon your circumstances.
Can I Ask My Employer for a Different Job When I Return?
When returning to work after being out on short-term disability leave, you may not be able to do the same job you performed before your injury. Most states do not require employers to accommodate employees’ requests to temporarily fill different positions until they are physically capable of resuming their previous roles. Alternatively, suppose your employer has a short-term assignment for you that pays less than your pre-injury job. In that case, workers’ compensation insurance can cover the salary gap until you return to your previous job, assuming it is available.
Do I Have Options When I Suspect My Firing Was Illegal?
If you feel that your job termination violates the Americans With Disabilities Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may have a case of discrimination against your employer.
Consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to understand your rights after you experience a work-related injury.