Frequently Asked Workers’ Compensation Questions
Q: If I get hurt on the job, can I still be fired?
Yes, to precisely the same extent as if you had not been hurt. In other words, if you have a union contract, you are protected to the same extent by the collective bargaining agreement’s just cause provisions. If not, you are at will employee
Q: Even if I am out on temporary disability, can I still be fired?
Yes to the same extent as any other disabled employee.
Q: Does it make any difference if the accident were 100% the company’s fault?
No, the worker’s compensation specifically makes no distinction as to fault, and no other statute or common law rule bearing on employment security does either.
Q: Do I have any job security if I get hurt or sick at work, and am temporarily disabled?
You have precisely the same rights as someone sick or injured due to non-work causes. That is, if both you and your employer are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may be afforded job security for up to 12 weeks. Collective bargaining agreements and company policies may provide additional protection.
Q: Can I be fired for trying to get worker’s compensation benefits?
No, if the attempt to claim the benefits is the determinative factor in your separation from employment.
Q: Doesn’t this happen a lot?
Not to this writer’s experience. Most of the time, worker’s compensation benefits are not provided directly by the employer, but rather by an insurance company who generally has no interest (and would rather avoid) the hiring-and-firing process.