Will I lose my job if I file a workers compensation case?

Will I Lose My Job If I File a Workers Comp Claim?

Will I lose my job if I file a workers compensation case

Did you sustain one of the nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries or illnesses that occurs each year in the United States? If so, then might be wondering if you could lose your job if you file a workers compensation claim. The short answer is “no” as far as being fired specifically for filing a claim. But there are some other details you should be aware of if you are planning to move forward with a workers comp case.

There’s More Flexibility with Termination If You Are an ‘At Will’ Worker

The ability of your employer to fire you when you have case pending will depend in large part on whether or not you are an “at will” employee. If you are, this means you may be let go for either a specific reason or no reason at all – as long as it’s not obviously a retaliatory action. However, employers are typically required to do two things for injured employees:

  1. Make reasonable accommodations if the employer is regulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act if a return to work is possible.
  2. Retain employees until the employee is no longer temporarily totally disabled or if light duty cannot be accommodated.

But Most Employers Will Give Another Reason for Termination

As mentioned above, you cannot be terminated in retaliation for filing a claim or seeking legal assistance from an attorney. This is why most employers that opt to dismiss an employee while a workers compensation case is being investigated or still open will cite other issues such as poor work performance or budget constraints as an official reason for termination. However, the act of filing a claim may convince an employer to suddenly find a reason to let you go or lay your off, but this is often difficult to prove.

Things Are Different Legally for Contract Employees

You have different rights if you are a contract employee. Under these circumstances, an employer usually has to give a specific reason for terminating an employee as per the terms of the contract. In some situations, employers end up terminating an employee if they are still unable to work for a long period of time after sustaining their workplace injury, especially if there is a clause in the employment contract that permits them to do so. Losing your job for this reason is usually legal. You could also be legally terminated if you are unable to return to your job in any capacity in the foreseeable future because of a permanent disability.

How a Workers Comp Lawyer Can Help

In addition to making sure you receive the proper compensation for your work injury, if your employer does dismiss you as your care advances, a lawyer can also determine if you might be able to pursue a wrongful termination case as well.