Unfortunately, accidents can happen at any time, even at work. That is exactly why states require companies that employ five or more regular full-time workers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are occasions where a person might suddenly find themselves let go from their job just for simply filing a workers’ compensation claim. If this happens, you have legal options.
Workers’ compensation laws exist to protect both employees and the employer. Employees are meant to be protected by receiving benefits when they are unable to work due to a work-related injury.
Levin & Nalbandyan has decades of experience fighting for the rights of wronged employees. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you.
Can I Get Fired for Filing Workers' Comp If I'm an At-Will Employee?
The majority of people in the workplace are “at-will” employees. Generally, this means that the employer can terminate employees for any reason or for no reason at all. By the same token, at-will employees can leave their positions at any time, for any reason or no reason at all.
Although an employer can let a worker go for any reason, doing so when an employee has sustained an on-the-job injury and filed a claim for workers’ comp is not legal. It is also grounds for a lawsuit against the employer for discrimination or retaliatory termination.
How Does Filing Workers’ Compensation Affect Contracted Employees?
While contracted employees (freelancers/ independent contractors) are not technically regular employees of a company, there are still some responsibilities that an employer must abide by.
If you are a contracted employee who’s been dismissed for sustaining a work-related injury, it’s best to seek an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. This is a tricky area, and your attorney will know whether or not the employer is liable and if you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Employer Tactics to Avoid Outright "Firing" an Employee
Some employers try different tactics rather than outright firing their employees.
- Forced Resignation: For example, an employer may force a person to quit because they filed a workers’ compensation claim — this is considered forced resignation. Forced resignation occurs when the employer makes the individual’s life at work so unbearable that the employee feels they have no choice but to resign.
- Forcing an employee to resign does not equate to the employee quitting on their own. Intentionally creating intolerable conditions that are designed to make an employee quit their job is known as constructive discharge, which is legally the same as a termination.
- Employers who resort to these tactics are trying to avoid firing the employee as to avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit. Additionally, the employee would be ineligible for unemployment insurance.
Employers are protected against personal injury lawsuits. However, if an employer terminates a worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim as retaliation, it is against the law. The employee could have a valid lawsuit against the employer as a result.
What to Do If Your Employer Tries to Fire You After Filing for Workers Comp
An employee who experiences wrongful termination, forced resignation, or constructive discharge after filing a workers’ compensation claim should keep good documentation and proof. Keeping all emails and paper correspondence as well as writing notes can only help their case when they speak with an attorney about starting a lawsuit against the employer.
Finally, if you've been fired or otherwise made to leave your job due to filing for workers' compensation, you should contact an attorney who can fight for your rights. Please do not hesitate to contact our experienced workers' comp and employment lawyers at Levin & Nalbandyan to discuss your situation in a legal consultation. Contact us online today or call at at (213) 232-4848.
- Can I Be Forced to Return to Work After an Injury?
- Why Accident Reports Are Vital to a Workers’ Comp Claim
- Critical Steps to Take After a Work Related Injury
- Important Pieces of Evidence to Collect After a Work Injury
- What is Considered Wrongful Termination in California?
- Our Victories for Wrongful Termination Clients