If you have a workers' compensation claim, your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you by firing you after the claim. However, that doesn't mean that your employer cannot fire or lay you off while you have a workers' compensation claim open.
Should I Seek Workers' Compensation?
Some injured workers may turn to their health insurance provider to pay for their injuries. However, if your health provider suspects that you were injured at work, they might refuse to treat you if they do not accept workers' compensation insurance, or may bill your employer's workers' compensation insurance provider if they do accept workers' compensation insurance. Instead, you should be honest to your doctor and report your injuries to your employer.
Termination After Filing for Workers' Compensation
Most employees are employed under "at will" employment. This means that the employer can fire an employee for any reason. If you are receiving compensation and are only partially injured, you may continue to work. However, you may still be fired if you violate your company's policies or for poor performance as long as the employer makes reasonable accommodations. However, your employer might need to take extra steps to show that your termination was not due to your filing of a workers' compensation claim.
Employers who fire their employees for illegal reasons seldom inform them of the true reason for the termination. Therefore, if you suspect that you are being terminated due to your workers' compensation claim, you should consider contacting an attorney to discuss your case and determine if you should take legal action.
Your workers' compensation claim will continue to be active until you have reached the point of "maximum medical improvement." At this point, you may return to your normal work responsibilities if you have fully recovered. If you do not fully recover, you may be placed under permanent work restrictions by your treating physician. Discuss your work restrictions with your employer. He is required to make reasonable accommodations to your work restrictions.
If your employer claims that he is not able to make reasonable accommodations, he is allowed to terminate your employment. However, he might choose to terminate your employment even if there is a way that you can return to work. Regardless of what happens, you will have options available with the help of an attorney. You may be entitled to benefits and vocational training, or you may argue that you should be allowed to return to work.