Many workers, especially those who work in physically demanding jobs, may not know exactly how to move forward after a workplace injury. Many employers look for any reason they can to fire an injured employee rather than deal with the injury, especially when going through proper channels with reporting and resolving the injury may hurt the business.
If you’re wondering whether an employer can legally fire you if you report an injury or file a workers’ compensation claim, the answer is usually no — but there are some exceptions.
The big question here is often, “Can my employer fire me in retaliation for filing a claim?” which is illegal. Employers generally do not have authority to fire an employee simply because he or she suffers an on-the-job injury.
However, in some cases, an employer can terminate an employee for related reasons.
Is your employer retaliating against your workers’ compensation claim?
If you suffered an injury at work, you should be sure to file your workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible, and make sure that you do so correctly. If you wait too long or don’t complete the process correctly, the insurer may deny your claim for technical reasons.
Some employers either fire or otherwise punish employees for filing workers’ compensation claims, creating a poor work environment. An employer does not have to fire you to retaliate. You may face poor treatment on the job or see your injury affect your performance reviews. Unless the employer has legitimate reasons for a poor performance review, this may violate your rights.
Exceptions to the rule
After a workplace injury, it is possible that your employer simply does not have the ability to continue to employ you. If your injury caused some long-term disability and you cannot return to work, or you cannot perform the tasks in your job description, and this will not improve soon, your employer may have grounds to terminate you.
However, an employer must usually exhaust other options before taking this step.
Protect your rights first
If you suspect that your employer treats you unfairly because of your workers’ compensation claim, you should seek out legal counsel from a professional who understands the nuances of employment law here in Harrisburg.
Guidance from an experienced attorney can help you understand a strong path forward towards fairly resolving your conflict while protecting your rights and the rights of others who share similar circumstances.