Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
Being on workers’ compensation does not protect an individual from being fired or laid off. If an employer is laying off a group of people, then your worker’s comp claim would not protect you from being laid off. Also, if you are completely unable to work, then the employer can probably terminate your employment. The Americans With Disabilities Act provides that an employer has to provide “reasonable accommodations” to an employee with a disability. However, if you are completely disabled from working due to an injury, then there is no accommodation to be made.
It actually could be an advantage to be fired after a work injury, because then the employer cannot create a job just to get an injured worker off of worker’s comp benefits.
What Is Retaliatory Termination?
One of the basic elements the of workers’ compensation law is that if you are temporarily disabled while on workers’ compensation, then the employer may not discriminate against you through termination or layoff because of your injuries. It is still possible that you may be terminated if the medical evidence from your treatment shows that you will be unable to return to your occupation.
However, your employer is not allowed to fire you because you applied for, or are on, workers’ compensation. This is called retaliatory termination. This gives rise to a civil lawsuit against the employer, which is separate from your worker’s comp claim, and would be heard by a different court.
Will My Workers Comp End If I’m Fired?
Regardless of the reason why you were fired, the good news is that your workers’ compensation will not end, even if you are fired. You should continue to receive benefits until you have recovered, so long as you are disabled due to the work injury.
If you suspect you were fired because of a workers compensation claim, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately. You will have to find solid evidence that the termination was retaliatory. If your employer has another reason that was stated publicly, try to collect documentation or evidence that demonstrates why that reason is unconvincing. Print e-mails and save documents that might support your lawsuit for employment discrimination.
What If I Am Fired While On Workers’ Compensation?
If you believe you have been discriminated against in your employment because you are on worker’s comp, or because you are pursuing a worker’s comp claim,, then you should strongly consider talking to an experienced attorney as soon as you can. There are statutory limitations for the time you can file a lawsuit, and you do not want to lose your right to file simply because you waited too long to talk to an attorney. Please call our workers’ compensation lawyers at Fischer & Manno Law to discuss your case with a professional today.