You cannot be fired for being on workers’ compensation, legally. However, you can be fired for other reasons during workers’ compensation. Things can be a little worse in at-will employment states such as New York or Florida.
Let’s find out more.
For workers’ compensation vs. during workers’ compensation
Just being on workers’ compensation due to a work injury or sickness is not a sufficient legal cause to fire you. Your employer cannot fire you on these grounds.
However, your employer is legally permitted to terminate you during any time in an at-will employment state such as New York (with sufficiently legal cause) during your workers’ compensation period, even if you have not healed fully or even if you are nearing a complete or maximum recovery.
Employers might not want to be understaffed in your absence and might furnish another reason for firing you. They can hide their true intent by attributing the firing to other reasons such as:
1. Company financial problems
2. Company restructuring
3. Poor work performance
4. Bad conduct
5. Or any other legal reason
You can petition for wrongful termination if you believe that you were fired solely because you were on workers’ compensation. For this, you will need to collect a lot of evidence first. Was anyone else also fired? What is the track record of the company? Are terminations the norm?
The more suspicious your termination looks, the better your chances are in court.
It’s best to seek the help of a Bronx workers’ compensation lawyerwhen you are looking to start a workers’ compensation case. Law firms and attorneys will need to know all details pertaining to your work situation including any communication you had prior to going on workers’ compensation.
Remember, the employer cannot fire you because you were in workers’ compensation. But they can tiptoe around this legality and fire you for any other reason while essentially firing you for being in compensation.
At-Will Work State Problems
The problem is more serious in states with an at-will employment system, including New York. Technically all states except Montana have an at-will employment system but the majority of them also have exceptions. Only Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Maine, and New York don’t allow any exceptions whatsoever.
At-will work system essentially means that you can quit your job for any reason or no reason at all. But it’s a double-edged sword, allowing employers to also fire you for any reason or no reason at all.
This aggravates the situation because if you are on workers’ compensation and the employer would rather have a new employee in your place or not have anyone at all; they don’t even need a serious reason to fire you, as long as it is legal. But if you strongly feel as if it was done because you were on workers’ compensation, you can dispute the employer’s decision. A good Bronx workers compensation lawyer from Bronx Injury Lawyers, P.C. is highly recommended.