Can You Get Fired While on Workers’ Compensation Leave? 

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Workers’ compensation is the claim you collect when you get severe injuries at your workplace. If your injuries are stopping you from attending work and working as you normally do, you will face lost wages. Besides that, you will have to pay for your medical bills. Such losses can be horrible for the worker and his or her family. Every state allows you to file a claim for workers’ compensation. You can file the claim by yourself, but to ensure you did it right, hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in Hickory, North Carolina. Now, the big question – can you get laid-off while you are on workers’ compensation leave?

If I File the Claim, Can I Lose My Job?

Sometimes, injured workers hesitate to file the claim out of fear that they might lose their job. Sometimes it happens because they have heard stories of workers being fired after filing the claim. There is a belief that the company no longer needs you after you got injured, so they will rush to hire someone else.

Such stories should not stop you from filing the claim. Even if your company wants to hire someone else, there is protection for workers against such termination of employment. Employers will not legally retaliate against employees who exercised their right to claim benefits for an injury they received while working.

Laid Off While on Workers’ Compensation Leave

Once you got your medical help, filed the claim, and got your deserved compensation, it is time to go home and recover from your injuries. You will get the benefits from the compensation, but can your employer still fire you when you are on workers’ compensation leave?

There is no simple answer to this.

Your employer can end your employment with you while you are on workers’ compensation leave. But, they cannot fire you just because you are on this leave.

There is the “at-will” rule that gives employers the right to fire you at any time for whatever reason. Again, check if your state and employment contract supports this rule.

So, you can lose your job as long as the termination of your employment does not violate your civil rights. This rule goes for you as an employee as well; you can quit at any time if you were hired by the “at-will” rule.

The agreement can be extended even you are injured. The fact that you are on workers’ compensation leave does not mean that you are protected from the “at-will” rule. You can get fired or laid off, just like any healthy and uninjured employee.

The fact that you are receiving loss wage compensation should not make you think that you are anyhow in a better position than any other employee.

Your employer can put you on the lay-off list anytime.

The only thing that protects you is the fact that you cannot lose your job solely because you are injured and collect workers’ compensation claim.

You Got Back to Work and Got Laid Off?

Many workers can return to work after a while, even though they are not fully recovered. Their doctors give a recommendation that they are healthy enough to work, but they should avoid certain work (heavy lifting, climbing stairs, etc.). In such cases, you can go back to work and work “with restrictions.” You can get laid off, not because you are not fully doing your job, but because the “at-will” rule can be applied for whatever reason (expect your workers’ compensation and injuries).

What Happens to Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits if You Lose Your Job After an Injury?

Let’s say your employer fired you after you got injured and got your workers’ compensation claims. What happens to the benefits when this happens?

You probably wonder if you will continue getting your benefits, or will they stop once you lose your job.

You do not have to worry about your benefits because you will continue collecting them.

If you were injured and currently claim your workers’ compensation benefits and suddenly get fired or laid off, the law gives you the right to continue getting your claims.

If your rights were violated while you were on your workers’ compensation leave, you could always file a lawsuit against your employer. If you believe that you lost your job because you filed a claim for your injuries, get a workers’ compensation attorney who will help you go through this process.

Call our office today and schedule your first consultation.

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