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Can My Employer Fire Me While I'm on Workers' Comp Leave?


Some people avoid filing their workers’ compensation claim because they fear that their employer will retaliate by firing them. However, it is important to know that an employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. While you can’t be fired for making your initial claim, there are circumstances where your employer can fire you while your workers’ comp claim is open. Even in these situations, your employer must be able to show legitimate reasons for firing or laying you off. If an employer retaliates or discriminates against you while you are on leave, you are entitled to take legal action against them.

At Will Employees

An employer can terminate an at will employee for poor work performance, changing business needs, or restructuring purposes. Sometimes, filing a workers’ compensation claim can motivate your employer to fire you, though they won’t admit this outright. Most employers have at will employment, so speak with an attorney if you are unsure about your how your employment status is classified.

Employees Under Contract

Contracted employees have different rights than at will employees. Employees under contract usually have specific termination criteria listed in their contract. Clauses that allow an employer to terminate an employee if they are unable to work for a given period of time are commonly included into employment contracts. Some employers use these clauses to fire employees on long-term workers’ compensation claims.

Other Laws that Protect Employees

Besides workers’ compensation law, there are other legal acts that protect the rights of American workers. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) both feature provisions that protect injured employees from being fired in certain circumstances. You should consult with an experienced attorney to determine if these two acts apply to your case.

Have more questions about workers’ compensation law? Contact our Glendale team of workers’ compensation attorneys to find out what we can do for you today.

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