There is a number of workers who get hurt at work and never file a workers’ compensation claim. They get hurt at work and lean on their health insurance and limited sick days to recover, all because they are afraid that if they file for workers’ compensation, they will lose their job.
Let it be known that it is illegal for employers to fire injured workers in retaliation for filing workers’ compensation claim. However, just because an employer can’t come right out and tell you they are firing you for submitting your claim to work comp, doesn’t mean you can’t lose your job while collecting workers’ compensation.
Your Employer’s Termination Rights For Injured Employees
Your employer can’t legally fire you because you got hurt unless you were under the influence and you got hurt because of that. So you need not technically worry about retaliation. However, there are a few legal loopholes that allow an employer to terminate your employment while you are collecting workers’ compensation.
Your employer has the right to end your employment due to past work performance, the need for layoffs at the company, any sort of restructuring that would see your position gone, or, if a contractual employee, because you will not be able to work for a set period of time as outlined in your contract.
While the above can all see you terminated while collecting workers’ compensation, your employer can also end your employment afterwards as well if you can no longer do your job. Typically, an employer will need to wait until you reach your maximum medical improvement, which is the point in which you will no longer heal any further. If you have work restrictions after that point, they are expected to reasonably accommodate them. For example, if you are a mechanic and an injury requires you to now take small breaks throughout the day, your employer is expected to accommodate that because it is a reasonable request.
However, your employee is not required to unreasonably adjust the job or find another job in the company for you. For example, a factory line worker needing to take frequent breaks that would require the line to be shut down several times a day is not a reasonable request. They can’t be expected to accommodate that for one worker. Your employer may offer you another position, but they are not required to create one for you. They may choose to let you go because you can no longer do the job, and that is within their rights.
If you cannot return to your job because of permanent work restrictions, you will typically have access to other workers’ compensation benefit,s such as vocational training to help you get another job that fits your physical restrictions.
What to Do If You Believe Your Lost Your Job in Retaliation?
There are many different ways you can lose your job after a work injury. Your mind shouldn’t immediately go to retaliation, but sometimes that evidence just leads directly there. For example, if there were layoffs and you were the only person affected, then that looks pretty suspicious. If you believe you lost your job due to retaliation for filing worker’s compensation, you should talk to a lawyer right away. There is a statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against it, and you need to make sure you file before that if you are seeking legal action.
Have you been injured at work and need help with the worker’s compensation process? Contact us today and let the professionals at the Farrish Johnson Law Office help walk you through the process and make sure that you don’t lose your job unfairly just because you got hurt at work. We are dedicated to making sure Minnesota’s injured workers get the compensation they deserve.
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