When you have a work injury, your employer has the right to file a Notice of Controversy regarding your workers’ compensation claim. They do not have a right to fire you just because you have been injured.
When considering reasons for termination, they must establish a single incident or a pattern of behavior that can prove they would have fired someone regardless of whether or not that person had been injured. If the employee can prove otherwise — that the injury itself was the real reason that they were fired — they can file a Petition to Remedy Discrimination with the Main Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). The employee may also be able to file a lawsuit on the grounds of discrimination, wrongful termination or a similar cause of action.
If you have been fired or forced to quit after getting injured on the job, then you can seek out the guidance of a workers’ compensation lawyer for help handling your case. You can also consider the following information when deciding what to do next.
Workers’ Compensation Systems Are Designed to Prevent Disputes
The whole aim of the workers’ compensation system is part of a “grand bargain” where employers would cover the costs of all work-related injuries if employees would waive their right to sue for the injuries. When an employer fires an employee or forces them to quit after getting injured on the job, then they have violated the “grand bargain” and opened themselves up to legal action.
An employer can dispute a workers’ compensation claim based on the facts of the case and their opinions on whether or not certain expenses are necessary and effective for the injured employee’s complete recovery. Regardless of the outcome of these disputes, the employer cannot fire the employee just because the employee got injured and asked for workers’ compensation.
If the employee deceived the employer somehow by committing fraud, getting purposefully injured or misrepresenting their injury, then that could be possible grounds for termination, but the employer would have to prove by a preponderance of evidence that their actions were not taken just because the employee was injured and could cause increased costs for the company.
Forced Resignation or Being Forced to Quit Is the Same as Termination
The law considers situations where an employee is basically forced to quit as a “constructive discharge.” Essentially, the methods and outcome of the employer’s actions are the same as if they had simply fired the employee.
Constructive discharge includes situations where the employee is basically threatened or heavily pressured into resignation. It also includes situations where the employer blatantly worsens the working conditions of the employee to the point where they have to quit.
With “constructive discharge,” the employee can allege discrimination, wrongful termination, and other civil rights violations that the employee is protected from under the law.
What to Do If You Are Being Treated Unfairly After a Work Injury
If you have been injured during a work-related accident or as a result of your work duties and think you are facing discrimination, you can discuss your options with a knowledgeable workers’ comp lawyer today. They can assist you with filing a Petition to Remedy Discrimination and any follow-up civil actions you may take as a result of the incident.
For a free case review, contact Lowry & Associates now using the phone number found above or the quick contact form you can see below.