If you have been hurt on the job, then you may be able entitled to workers compensation. Many people hesitate to file a workers compensation claim because they fear that they may be fired. Can your employer really fire you for filing a workers compensation claim?
The answer to that question is no. In most states, it is against the law for employers to fire you if you file a workers compensation claim. However, there are a few things that you will need to be aware of if you are filing a claim.
Reporting the Accident
The first thing you should do if you are injured is report the accident to your employer. This is a lot easier said than done. Businesses typically have strict protocols that have to be followed. If the claim is not filed correctly or on time, then you may not be able to get workers compensation.
Employee retaliation is when an employee is punished for exercising his or her rights. This can include receiving a negative performance review, reassigning, or terminating the employee. Studies have shown that employee retaliation is increasing while workplace injuries are decreasing.
Generally speaking, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for exercising their rights. If your injury occurred as the result of a workplace safety hazard, then the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has protections in place for people who report the unsafe conditions. These laws are known as whistleblower protections.
Was I Fired Because I Filed a Workers Compensation Claim?
You should take note of the timing of the termination. If you were fired a few days or a few weeks after filing a workers compensation claim, then your employer may have retaliated against you. Did the manager seem upset after you filed a workers compensation claim? If so, then the firing may have been the employer’s way of retaliating against you.
You should also take note of the reason the employer gave for your termination. If you have a history of delivering a great performance, then you may have been fired because you filed a workers compensation claim.
How to get Recourse
If you believe that you have been fired because you have filed a workers compensation claim, then you may have legal recourse. You can file a wrongful termination lawsuit. However, it is important to note that it can be difficult to prove retaliation cases.
If you are able to prove that you were fired because you filed for workers compensation, then you may be able to get additional compensation. You can ask to get your job back. You may also be able to recover your lost wages. Additionally, you may be able to collect a penalty.
You may also be protected by other laws. There are state and federal laws that require employers to provide people with a reasonable amount of time off in order to allow people to recover. They are also required to make accommodations for people who have disabilities or serious health conditions.
Every workplace injury is different. That is why you will need a workers compensation attorney. Your attorney will be able to assess your specific circumstance. Learn more about Workers Compensation.