Worker's compensation issues are often sticky for employers and employees. One thing that creates some legal discussion is when an employee is fired during their worker's compensation period. This may or may not be legal, so read on to find out how your situation stacks up.
There Must Be a Legitimate Reason
The first criteria is whether there is a legitimate reason for firing an employee. An employer may not fire you simply for opening a claim against them. But there are legitimate reasons to fire an employee while they're on worker's compensation. If you aren't cooperating with taking on alternate work assignments, that's a fireable offense, and it could also mean that an employer can legally stop providing worker's compensation at all. If you aren't returning to work even after your doctor's release, that is another good reason to fire you as a result of worker's compensation. And in some cases, a long-term disability can be a reasonable excuse for firing someone. If you will be gone for six months and that will create a large burden on the company, they could fire you on the basis that they can't wait for you to recover.
You Should Still Get Paid
As long as you keep up your end of the bargain by getting the correct medical treatment and complying with your doctor's advice on whether or not you can work, you should still continue to get paid worker's compensation benefits even if you get fired. They will continue until your doctor advises that you can return fully to work.
Hire a Lawyer
When the circumstances of your firing are questionable, get a worker's compensation lawyer on your side.
For example, if you are fired shortly after filing a worker's compensation claim, that often looks like the employer let you go as a retaliation for opening the claim at all. That's especially the case if your employer asked you not to file for worker's compensation. And if your injury time is predicted to be short, the employer doesn't have much of a case for firing you on the basis of your injury.
If your employer tries to interfere with you collecting benefits, that's also a cause for hiring a lawyer. The employer may sometimes try to dispute the validity of a worker's compensation claim. In short, when you experience unfair pushback on a worker's compensation claim, workers compensation lawyers are there to defend you and make sure that you're compensated appropriately for your injuries.