I’ve been hurt at work, but I’m afraid I will lose my job if I take time off. Can I be fired for collecting workers’ compensation?

While the economy is slowly recovering, the job market remains at cutthroat levels of competition. It seems as though there are hundreds of people in line for your job behind you, and in reality, there may be.

When people are injured on the job, they may feel immense pressure to “tough it out” in the interest of keeping the job and career they worked so hard for. They may feel as though they will lose professional momentum, or even their position altogether, if they take all the time off their doctor ordered. Your employer may be dropping subtle—or not so subtle—hints that you should return to work as soon as possible. You sense that you have no choice.

Your Rights as an Injured Employee, and Your Employer’s Duty to You

After a workplace injury, you are entitled to certain rights. You are entitled to collect medical benefits and lost wage benefits, and more importantly, you are entitled to time off work to heal without employer harassment. Your employer cannot terminate you simply because you are collecting workers’ compensation benefits and are away from work per your doctor’s orders.

Collecting workers’ compensation benefits cannot prevent termination, however, if the cause is unrelated. If your workplace accident was the result of your intoxication, for example, your employer may be able to let you go based on your violation of company policy. If your position was slated for layoffs or included in downsizing, your presence at work would not affect that decision, and you can be terminated or let go regardless of your injury.

Do You Suspect You Were Terminated as a Direct Result of Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

It can be difficult to decipher if your termination is directly related to your claim, but if you suspect that the two may be linked, workers’ compensation attorney Chris Hudson can help. To discuss your situation in a free, no-obligation consultation, connect with the firm today by phone or by live chat now.