A common misconception about workers' compensation is that while out recovering from injuries, an employee cannot lose his or her job. Unfortunately, in some situations, an employer retains the right to fire an employee. If you have been terminated or believe that you will be while out on workers' compensation, here is what you need to know.
What Are the Reasons Your Employer Can Fire You?
If you live in an at-will state, your employer can fire you without giving cause. In this instance, if your employer terminates you because your recovery time is expected to last for months, you could be fired because the position needs to be filled.
Regardless of whether or not you live in an at-will state, your employer can choose to fire you based on performance. For instance, if you had previously received poor performance reviews and were on track to be terminated, your employer could argue that your injury had nothing to do with your termination. In essence, your termination and benefits claim coincidentally occurred around the same time.
Will You Lose Your Benefits?
If you have already been approved for workers' compensation benefits, they will continue until you are cleared to return to work. Depending on the reason for your termination, it might be possible for you to be rehired by your employer.
For instance, if you were terminated because there was a need for the position to be filled right then, your employer might offer you another position within the company.
It is important to note that vocational training is part of the benefits available through workers' compensation. Even if you are not rehired, you can receive the training needed to find another position.
What If You Believe the Termination Was Retaliation?
If you believe your termination was retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim, you can take action. Employers are legally prohibited from firing an employee for retaliation. You can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You must be able to prove your allegations if you are taking action.
How you prove your claim depends on the circumstances of your case. For instance, if you had received good performance reviews prior to your workplace accident and the workers' comp claim, you could use those reviews to show that there was no reason for you to be fired.
Regardless of the reasoning for the termination, you should evaluate your case with an experienced attorney. He or she can help determine whether or not there are legal actions available to you.
About a year ago, I was left dealing with injuries sustained during a serious car accident. I was worried that I would never be the same, so I decided to start looking into ways to make things right. After thinking about the wreck, I realized that since it wasn't my fault, I shouldn't be left with all of the medical expenses. I decided that I needed to look into things a little further, and I decided to file a personal injury lawsuit. My lawyer helped me to come to grips with the extent of my injuries and helped me to make things right. This blog is all about understanding personal injury lawsuits.