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    Can Your Employer Fire You for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

    Posted on - Tuesday, June 15, 2021 under Workers Compensation

    Although employers are not required to keep a position open while an injured worker recovers from a workplace accident, there are protections prohibiting employers from firing injured parties just because they filed a workers’ compensation claim. If you suspect your employer fired you because you exercised your rights to benefits, proving your employer’s motivation will likely be tough.  However, with the right Georgia workers’ compensation attorney on your team, you may be able to succeed in a wrongful termination claim against your employer.

    What is Wrongful Termination?

    At-will employment means that employers may freely hire and fire employees as they wish for any reason or no reason at all.  However, your employer cannot fire you for any of the several of reasons listed on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website.  If your employer fires you for any of the reasons listed on the EEOC’s website, he or she may be sued for wrongful termination or even discrimination. In addition to a person’s age, disability, national origin, race, or sex, an employer cannot base a decision to fire someone on retaliation. Terminating a person for simply filing a workers’ compensation claim is considered retaliation, and thus illegal.

    Still, proving your employer’s motivation to fire you is difficult. Absent your employer making an outright admission that he or she fired you for filing a claim, he or she could assert that you were fired for a legal reason such as underperformance, inability to perform job functions, or just that your position needed to be filled while you were recovering. 

    Proving Your Employer Fired You in Retaliation

    If you believe that you were fired because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, it is essential that you consult with a Georgia attorney right away. If your suspicions are correct, and if there is plenty of evidence to prove it, your employer may be required to compensate you for wrongful termination. More importantly, your employer may be deterred from wrongfully terminating other employees in the future. When determining whether you were discriminated against, pay attention to the following:

    • Timing: Often, when a person is fired within days or weeks of filing a workers’ compensation claim, it is very likely that your termination was the result of retaliation.
    • Ambiguous Reasoning: Your employer’s reason for firing you is another warning sign that you were discriminated against. If the reason you were fired is unclear, or if the reason changes from report to report, there is a good chance you were fired because of the claim. It is also a red flag if the reason for termination is not at all related to your performance on the job or the overall financial health of the organization. Finally, if you were terminated despite not having a history of poor work performance or discipline issues, there is a good chance your workers’ compensation claim is the real reason for your termination.
    • Manager Interaction: If your managers and supervisors are exhibiting strange behavior, this is yet another sign that you were let go because you simply filed a claim. If your leaders treat you differently after the accident, including making hostile comments about you or your injuries, or having difficulty discussing your case, there is a good chance you were fired for exercising your rights.

    What to Do After Being Fired for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim

    If you are able to demonstrate that you were wrongfully terminated, you may be able to recover not only your position and any lost compensation, but you may even be compensated for your troubles. However, you should avoid attempting to pursue a wrongful termination claim on your own. If you believe that you were fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact a Georgia attorney at Parian Injury Law today to learn more about your rights.