An employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, however, they can fire you while on workers’ compensation if you were not abiding by company policies or were not performing well prior to the accident.
If you are concerned about being fired while on workers’ compensation, Regan Zambri Long PLLC is here to explain your rights.
Collecting workers’ compensation does not mean you are protected legally from being fired. Instead, you still may face termination for reasons unrelated to your workers’ comp filing, or the injury.
Common reasons for employment termination may include reporting to work late repeatedly, leaving early, taking longer breaks, missing deadlines, insubordination, etc.
Further, if you have an employment contract that states that the employer may terminate you after not working for a period of time, you may be fired while on workers’ compensation.
However, if you are being accused of these activities and they are not true, and instead you think it is a ploy to terminate you because of your workers’ compensation claim, you may need a lawyer to protect your rights.
If you are fired while collecting workers’ compensation, you may still be entitled to those benefits if your doctor doesn’t feel you are able to work yet.
However, know that if you quit your job while filing a claim or prior to filing a workers’ comp claim, your case may be dismissed as it can impact the validity of your claim.
In some cases, it may be completely legal for your employer to fire you if you cannot return to your old position. If your doctor feels that you have reached peak medical improvement, you may be permitted to return to work, but with a permanent disability or physical limitations which means you may not be able to do the job you once had.
Though you may be able to complete the job with accommodations, if the employer does provide those reasonable accommodations, yet you still cannot perform, your employer could fire you.
However, your employer may also take the opportunity to instead switch you to a new position so you can stay employed within the company. Know however, that the job you are offered may not pay as much as your previous position, and your employer is not legally obligated to pay you at your old rate.
Other options your employer may seek instead of keeping you away from work while on workers’ compensation, may include offering you light-duty work while you heal. This is paid as your regular salary instead of the workers’ comp benefits.
If you were unlawfully fired while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, know that you may have a retaliation lawsuit against your employer.
Though each state has its own workers’ compensation laws, no employer is legally permitted to retaliate against you for collecting workers’ compensation following a workplace injury; nor can they retaliate against another employee who testifies on your behalf.
Unfortunately, these unlawful terminations happen, making some injured employees simply not file a claim. However, you don’t have to take it to that extreme.
The workers’ compensation attorneys of Regan Zambri Long fight for the rights of employees who have experienced an injury in the workplace.
Whether you need guidance on filing a workers’ compensation claim, have experienced discrimination from your employer following a workers’ comp filing, or are fearful that you may be fired after collecting workers’ compensation, we can help.
Our team will review the case, and help you receive the benefits you are entitled to. If you have been offered employment accommodations, are being asked to consider light-duty work, or have been offered a different position, we can help you understand your rights.
For a no obligation, free consultation, contact the workers’ comp lawyers of Regan Zambri Long by calling 202-960-4596 or by completing our online contact form.