Does a workers’ compensation claim make it illegal for the employer to fire the employee? The laws surrounding this type of situation are meant to protect both the worker and the employer, in fairness to both. This means that the rights and responsibilities of both sides are spelled out, yet subject to some interpretation. Job security depends entirely on the situation of the employer. However, there are laws to protect employees in the case of illegal termination due to a workers’ compensation claim. If you have any questions as to the legality of your termination, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your rights.
It is not legal for an employer to terminate an employee solely on the basis of the filing of a workers’ compensation claim. However, an employer does have the right to terminate an employee for other reasons. If the company feels it can prove that the position no longer fits the needs of the company, for example, an employee with an open workers’ compensation claim can be legally laid off. If the company is in the process of downsizing, terminating many employees, the one with a workers’ compensation claim may not be safe either. The company has a right to be able to do business and make a profit. If the needs of the business necessitate the firing of a worker with an open claim, the company can do so. The company, however, must be able to prove the reasons behind the termination of an employee with a workers’ compensation claim if challenged.
Even if the company does let the employee go, it is still responsible for paying for the other benefits of an approved workers’ compensation claim. These benefits, such as payment of related medical bills, do not end when employment does. Having a workers’ compensation attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation is the best ally an employee can have. The laws can be explained and illegal actions by the employer can be quashed.