Have you filed for workers compensation only to lose your job shortly thereafter? Maybe you have been told that if you file a claim you will lose your job. If this is the case, you are or may become the victim of unlawful termination by your employer.
Laws Differ by State
While the laws regarding being terminated due to a workers' compensation claim vary from state to state, the general rule is that it is discrimination. For example, California Labor Code section 132a prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who has filed or made known that they will file a claim for workers' compensation. Employers who discriminate under this section will be charged with a criminal misdemeanor. Employees who have been discriminated against receive compensation and are entitled to be reinstated to their job.
An attorney who specializes in workers' compensation claims can provide you with the exact laws for your state. You can also find information by state at the Workers Compensation Insurance website.
Proving Your Case
The hard part about cases where someone who is collecting workers' compensation benefits loses a job is proving the reason for termination of employment. Your employer isn't going to come out and say they are letting you go because you have filed for workers' compensation.
The fact that you have filed for or are collecting workers' compensation doesn't protect you from being fired. It does mean that your employer is going to have to come up with a good reason for letting you go, and one that doesn't involve your workers' comp benefits. If you have missed work for a significant amount of time, your employer may state that they had to fill your position and could no longer hold it for you. There are any number of reasons an employer can state for termination while never mentioning workers' compensation.
You will likely need an attorney to help you prove your case. Be sure to keep good records such as conversations with your employer. Save all your medical bills and other pertinent information. The more you have to back your case, the better job your lawyer can do for you.
Be aware that employers are not allowed to ask if you have ever collected workers' compensation. You do not have to disclose your past claims. For more information about workers' compensation and your rights, contact an attorney such as Robert W. Sebera, PC.