If you are injured on the job, it can be a scary time in your life. You may be unable to continue to work in your current job, even after you have completely healed from your injuries.
The situation can be difficult for your employer as well, but in a vastly different way. The employer needs to continue to have the work done that you were doing while you recover—but does that mean your employer can fire you? A workers’ comp attorney can help you answer this question.
You Cannot Be Fired Solely For Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
In most states, it is illegal to fire an employee simply because they filed a workers’ compensation claim. In addition, even if you lose your job, your employer must still likely pay you benefits until your doctor determines that you are able to work again. Both of these factors make termination after a workers’ compensation claim less likely.
You Can Be Terminated if You Can No Longer Perform Your Job Duties
There are certain situations where you can lose your job because of a work-related injury. Keep in mind that this is not the same thing as being let go for filing a workers’ compensation claim. The rationale behind this is fairly straightforward. Your employer needs someone to do the job that you were doing, and if you cannot continue to do it, then they need to find someone who can.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for those who have working limitations. This includes employees who have suffered a work injury that has long-term effects. While you are recovering, your employer is also required to set up accommodations as well, including modified hours and offering you work that fits within the restrictions that the doctor provides. If they cannot offer you these accommodations, then they will take you completely off work and offer you total disability benefits until you can work.
If you are terminated, your employer should continue to provide benefits until you are able to work again. Your termination does not cut off their obligation to pay benefits until a doctor releases you to work. It also will not cut off their obligation to pay permanent benefits if your injury warrants those payments as well.
What Happens if I Quit My Job After a Work Injury?
If you voluntarily quit your job after a work injury, then you may jeopardize your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Part of the requirements to receive work comp benefits is that you are willing to work within your restrictions provided by the doctor. If you quit, then you are considered “not willing” to work.
In some situations, an employer may pressure the employee to quit after a work injury. They may also harass you or tell you that you will still get benefits if you quit. Do not feel like you have to stop working if your doctor tells you that you are released to work. If you stop, you may not be able to get benefits in some situations. When employers trick you or force you to quit, they are engaging in illegal and unethical behavior. If this situation comes up during your workers’ comp case, tell your workers’ comp attorney about this type of treatment immediately.