Small Business Brief


Can You Be Fired for Being Injured on the Job? This is What to Know

We all deserve to go to work feeling confident and safe about our well-being. Unfortunately, even in the most well-equipped environments, accidents still happen. 

Workplace accidents are startlingly common, with hundreds of thousands of workers getting injured on the job each and every year. If you’ve been injured on the job, you should be able to seek compensation for your injuries via your worker’s compensation insurance policy.

U.S. laws require all employers of a certain size to have this kind of insurance in place. However, some workers get nervous about filing a claim.

Can you be fired for being injured on the job? Are you wrong in assuming there might be pushback for this kind of action? Read on and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

How Does Worker’s Compensation Work?

A serious injury can be a huge blow to a worker. Not only is it likely painful, but it can bring a wealth of potential financial problems upon the individual in question. 

First, there are medical bills. It’s no secret that medical care in the United States can be quite expensive. Affording this kind of care can be out of the financial capability of many modern families. 

On top of that, an injury might be enough to prevent a worker from returning to their position. They might be unable to perform the work they are accustomed to in this new physical state. As a result, they might have no income coming in either, as an employer will have to hire someone new to get the job done.

Worker’s compensation insurance is intended to provide a solution to this issue. When a worker is injured, this insurance is in place to cover the costs we’ve mentioned above: medical treatment and lost wages. 

State laws all across the country require employers of even moderate size to have some form of worker’s compensation in place. All workers have a right to this compensation if injured while on the job.

If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s important to report the injury right away to your employer. Don’t wait! Your employer should be able to provide you with the proper paperwork. 

However, some workers have deeper concerns about their future employment when it comes to filing. Is an injury on the job enough to get you canned? Is filing a claim for worker’s compensation laying the groundwork for your being let go? 

Can You Be Fired for Being Injured on the Job?

The short answer is no, though things can be complicated depending on the extent of the injuries. 

Nearly all states across the country have rigid laws in place the forbid the firing of an employee solely due to the fact they’ve suffered some sort of injury. 

That being said, if an injury makes it impossible for an employee to complete their essential job duties over an extended period of time, an employer can let them go. First, an employer must make reasonable attempts to integrate the employee back into the workplace.

They must be able to show evidence that they attempted to restructure a job’s tasks, the schedule, or some other aspect of a person’s employment. The larger a company is, the larger responsibility they have to make some sort of accommodation for their injured workers.

Of course, this discussion pertains to those workers whose injuries are so severe they might not fully recover for many months, if ever. 

While this may seem cruel and unusual, it is also not fair for an employer to have to continue to pay an employee over a great deal of time for work they are no longer able to do.

The hope is that worker’s compensation insurance payouts are enough to sustain the employee until they are able to find employment once again. 

Retaliation Firing for Claiming Compensation

There are other situations in which employees fear being fired for making a worker’s compensation claim. An employer has to pay monthly premiums for the insurance they have in place.

A claim made on this insurance often will cause those premiums to go up. Thus, it might be in an employer’s interest for a claim to go unreported. Some employees fear that they might get fired as an act of retaliation from a frustrated business manager.

Other employees experience threats and intimidation from their employers right off the bat. An employer may refuse to give a worker the insurance paperwork to fill out. They might threaten harmful action (such as firing) if a person were to file a claim.

All of these actions are prohibited under state and federal law. If you’ve experienced this kind of behavior from an employer, it’s important to consider getting legal help. You might be able to sue your employer for this illegal action.

You can view more about this kind of situation and see if getting legal help is the right move for you. 

Worker’s Compensation & Job Termination

Can you be fired for being injured on the job?

This is a thought that has no doubt crossed the mind of many workers facing a serious injury as a result of actions in the workplace. The last thing you want is to lose your primary source of income as the result of an accident.

The above information should help fill you in on all the details you need to know about worker’s compensation claims and possible terminations.

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