I’m Out on Workers Comp — Can I Still Get Fired?

Have you ever been injured at work, or wondered if your latest injury was work-related? In these cases, some employees will file a workers’ compensation claim; however, many do not. Many people choose not to file a workers’ compensation claim because they’re afraid their employer will fire them for doing so. At The Law Offices of Darwin F. Johnson, a reputable firm with top workers compensation lawyers in Atlanta, we encourage employees to file a claim for work-related injuries to procure the benefits you deserve to compensate for their injuries or illness. 

Can You Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

It’s important to note that an employer cannot fire you simply because you have started a claim; however, they can, in fact, fire you while you have an open claim. In order to prove your termination was not in relation to the claim, they will have to show that there were reasons outside of the claim that led to this decision. 

At-Will Employees

At-will employees can be terminated or laid off for just about any reason, or no reason at all. Likewise, an employee is able to leave their job for any reason reason whatsoever. Some reasons an employer might terminate an employee is financial problems, poor performance in the past, a restructuring of the company, or a number of other legal reasons. 

Employers understand the legal ramifications they could encounter if they were to flat out tell an employee that the reason for their termination is their workers’ compensation claim. If this was the sole reason for their decision, the employee can file a lawsuit for discrimination or retaliatory termination.

Contracted Employees

As a contracted employee, your employer still cannot terminate your employment due to your workers’ compensation claim. In addition, your employment contract will have the specific reasons for which your employer may be able to terminate you, although, they still cannot terminate you in retaliation of your claim. 

Retaliatory Termination

Retaliatory termination is when an employee is terminated for anything other than work performance reasons. Many state and federal laws deem retaliatory termination illegal, especially when it is because of a workers’ compensation claim. Take a look at this infographic to get an idea of the process after returning from workers’ comp:

If you are fired while you are out on workers’ comp, you should be suspicious that your employer is terminating you merely because of your claim, and you should immediately speak to one of our attorneys. If you need to start a claim for your work-related injury, contact Atlanta’s workers’ compensation lawyers to receive the best defense for your case.