Workers can get hurt while on the job. It is a reality for all professions. When an injury occurs, the workers’ compensation system should help provide a safety net while that person recovers.
Some companies do not like it when an injured employee files a workers’ compensation claim. In these cases, the employer might choose to fire that worker. Is this legal?
Workers’ compensation discrimination
The law is very clear. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because they filed a workers’ compensation claim. That means the business cannot fire, lay off or demote someone solely based on the claim.
Bottom line, it is illegal for an employer to treat someone differently because they filed for workers’ compensation.
But it does happen.
One Texas Department of Insurance analysis found that one in every five workers surveyed said they were fired or laid off after suffering a work injury. Many of those surveyed individuals believed it was done specifically because they had filed a workers’ compensation claim.
You could still lose your job for other reasons
While it is illegal for an employer to fire you specifically because of your workers’ compensation claim, it is not automatically against the law for you to lose your job for other reasons. For example, if business is slow or the company is reorganizing, management might choose to lay off some people. That could include someone who filed for workers’ compensation.
As long as the decision is not related to the workers’ comp claim, it is generally legal. Could an employer lie about their reason for firing you? That is possible. In those cases, it is often smart to get help from an employment attorney who can help you understand your options.
Do not let this discourage you from filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you were injured on the job, you have every right to make a claim. If your employer reacts negatively, know there may be an opportunity for legal recourse.