You slipped and fell on the floor at work, breaking your arm. You informed your employer and filed a workers’ compensation claim . You thought everything was fine until you received a notice from your employer a month later stating that you had been laid off.
This is illegal, right? An employer cannot simply fire you after you file for workers’ compensation, right? The short answer is yes and no.
Am I Guaranteed a Job?
There are no guarantees when you file a workers’ compensation claim. There are no protections when you are on leave nursing the injuries from your workplace accident. An employer does not have to keep you on the payroll during this time if the company is facing layoffs or there is simply no more need for your position.
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Unless you are under a contract, employment is typically at-will. This means you have the right to quit at any time. At the same time, your employer has the right to end your employment at any time. If the company is doing poorly, you may be laid off. If you are not performing well in your position, you could be fired. The same goes for when you are away from work after suffering a workplace injury .
There is one exception: Your employer can not fire you or threaten to fire you solely because you applied for workers’ compensation benefits . It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for making a claim. However, proving that an employer fired you for filing for workers’ compensation is easier said than done.
Suing for Improper Discharge
With the economy fairly unstable, losing a job is a real concern for many Americans. Nobody wants to be fired. Even though employers basically have the right to fire an employee at any time, many employees are challenging these decisions.
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While an employer can fire an employee who is currently receiving workers’ compensation benefits, proving that one incident is not related to the other can be challenging. If the employee had worked at the company for a long time, never had any disciplinary issues, was never informed about an impending layoff, but was suddenly fired without cause, the employer has the burden of proving that the termination was bound to happen, whether or not the claim was filed. Without documentation or employee evaluations in place, a company has very little evidence to prove that a discharge was not related to a workers’ compensation claim.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
After a workplace accident, you may be concerned about your job. You may even be concerned about filing a claim because you are afraid you will face retaliation and lose your job. This is a legitimate concern, as many employees are fired while on some sort of leave.
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If you think your workers’ compensation claim led to your subsequent unemployment, seek legal help from the Oklahoma workers’ compensation lawyers at BDIW Law . They can assess your case and inform you of your rights as you go through the workers’ compensation claims process. Call our office today at (580) 765-9660 to schedule a consultation.
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