Most companies are required to have Workers’ Compensation coverage for employees. You can benefit from this insurance if you are injured on the job. This benefit will cover your medical costs and may pay a portion of your salary if you missed time at work. Sometimes, when an employee files a Workers’ Compensation claim, employers become upset. Not only can such a claim reflect poorly on the organization, but the company’s insurance rates may go up. If you get fired by your employer, and you believe it’s because you filed a Workers’ Compensation claim, it’s important to understand your rights.
It is illegal for a company to retaliate against an employee who seeks Workers’ Compensation benefits because of an incident at work. Employees have protection against this treatment as well as against discrimination for being physically unable to work. This means if you file a Workers’ Compensation Claim, your company can’t fire you, demote you, cut your pay or reassign you because of this reason.
Many places in the United States have what is called at-will employment. This allows employees to quit for any reason at any time. It also means employers can terminate an employee for any reasons, unless, of course, it is illegal. This gets tricky because some employers may fire someone who makes a Workers’ Compensation claim but insist the firing was for a different reason. For instance, the employer may say the person had a poor track record of attendance, didn’t meet performance goals or standards, didn’t work well with others or a number of other reasons.
Knowing the Difference
If you believe you were fired for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim and not for any other reason, you should speak to an employment law attorney or to a lawyer who specializes in Workers’ Compensation. You and your lawyer can look at the timing of the firing and how close it occurred to your injury and claim. You may also look at your performance on the job. If you had gotten strong reviews from your boss but were told you were fired because you didn’t meet expectations, you’ll know this should raise some red flags.
If you are worried about the status of your job after you file a Workers’ Compensation claim, you could take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act. This grants the person up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but it also guarantees job protection.
Your employee can’t let you go because you were injured and applied for Workers’ Compensation. Speak to a lawyer, like a worker’s compensation lawyer in Richlands, Virginia, today if you have concerns about your claim and case.
Thank you to the experts at the Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into worker’s compensation law.