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Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law
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Can You Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation (Comp) Claim?


As an employee, understanding your rights in the workplace is essential. One common area of concern revolves around workers' compensation and the consequences of filing a claim. In this post, we'll delve into whether or not employees can be legally terminated or faced with retaliation for filing workers' compensation claims and what you can do to protect yourself from any potential mistreatment. 

What is Workers' Compensation? 

Workers' compensation is an insurance program that provides benefits to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses. These benefits can include payment of medical expenses, compensation for lost wages, and benefits payable to the dependents of workers who died as a result of their employment. 

Can You Be Fired for Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim? 

It is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee solely because they filed a workers' compensation claim. This falls under the category of 'retaliatory discharge' and is considered a violation of public policy. 

However, it's important to understand that while you cannot be fired for filing a claim, you can still be terminated while on workers' compensation if your employer can demonstrate a valid reason unrelated to the claim, such as company-wide layoffs, misconduct, or poor performance. 

You may also be let go if you are unable to perform any work because of your injury. However, once you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and are medically cleared to return to work, they may be required to rehire you.  

What is Retaliation & How Can You Recognize It? 

Retaliation refers to adverse actions taken by employers against employees who have exercised their rights under workers' compensation laws. Identifying retaliation can sometimes be tricky as it may not always be overt. Here are some potential signs (besides being fired or demoted): 

  • Sudden change in treatment. If you notice a significant shift in how your superiors or colleagues treat you after filing a claim, this could be a sign of retaliation. 

  • Unjustified disciplinary actions. If you start receiving unjustified negative performance reviews or disciplinary actions, these could be retaliatory measures. 

  • Exclusion from important meetings or projects. Being suddenly left out of key activities can also be a form of retaliation. 

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself? 

Here are a few steps you can take to protect your rights: 

  • Document everything. Keep a record of all interactions related to your claim. Emails, text messages, and official documents can serve as evidence in case of a dispute5. 

  • Report any retaliatory actions. If you believe you're facing retaliation, report it to your Human Resources department and consult with a legal professional. 

  • Seek legal counsel. If you feel your rights have been violated, don't hesitate to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process and help protect your interests. 

Get Legal Counsel  

At Michael Doyle, Attorney at Law, we can help those with work-related injuries or illnesses pursue compensation. From filing your initial claims to understanding your rights should you face retaliation, our firm is here for you.  

To schedule an initial consultation, call (505) 219-2176.