Your Legal Rights While on Workers’ Comp

Workers Compensation Lawyer

Most employees receive workers’ compensation if they are injured while on the job. However, many employers choose not to make a workers’ comp claim out of fear of being fired. Is it legal for an employer to fire an employee because of a claim? Regardless of whether you have been injured while working, you should know what legal rights you have as an employee.

Wrongful Termination

While employment laws do vary from state to state, it is always illegal to fire an employee because they filed a workers’ compensation claim. This is pure and simple. This is actually one of the most straightforward kinds of employment lawsuits. If there is evidence that an employee was terminated as a result of their claim, the chances are quite good that their lawsuit will be successful. A wrongful termination lawsuit can earn the plaintiff not only compensation for hospital visits and procedures but compensation for lost wages as well. Importantly, it is not illegal to fire an employee who is currently on workers’ compensation, but it is illegal to fire an employee because they are on workers’ compensation. If you are fired for an unrelated reason, you will continue to receive the workers’ comp benefits until the injury is completely healed.

The Types of Employees

To fully understand your rights, you need to know what kind of employee you are. Most employees fall into one of two categories:

  • At-Will Employees
  • Contract Employees

At will employees may quit or be fired at any time and without warning. They also are not required to give or receive a reason for termination. Finally, at will employees are not required to continue working for any amount of time after notifying the employer that they are quitting. This is the most common type of employee. Contract employees are governed by different rules, but the most notable is that a reason must be given. It can be difficult to gauge whether you were terminated because of workers’ compensation if you are an at-will employee, or whether your employer’s reason is truthful if you are a contract employee. It is a good idea to collect and keep as much evidence as you can, including emails and recordings of interactions, in case you are terminated and need to prove that it was for illegal reasons. Speaking with an injury lawyer is also a very good idea, and a professional can provide you with more information about how to begin a wrongful termination suit.

Source: Workers Compensation Lawyer Abingdon, VA, The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt

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