Can I Lose My Job While Out On Workers’ Comp?
When someone is injured on the job in Connecticut, they are usually able to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and take time off work to heal (if required). In general, the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and state workers’ compensation law state that a worker cannot be terminated while out on leave. However, sometimes an employer will try to ‘cut corners’ or to argue that one of the rare exceptions apply. If this happens to you, you have redress under Connecticut law.
In general, the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act states explicitly that an employee may not be fired solely because they are temporarily unable to work or because they have filed a workers’ compensation claim. However, this does not stop employers from finding other reasons to terminate an employee who is out on leave – some legitimate, some unscrupulous. Connecticut is an at-will state, and if an employer can point to a factor like poor job performance, a termination will generally be upheld even if the employee is injured.
That said, it is important to distinguish between a lawful and an unlawful termination. If an employee happens to be out on workers’ compensation leave at the time of their termination, it may be that there is a lawful reason, such as layoffs in that department or a history of rules violations on the part of that specific employee. However, if an employee is terminated specifically because they filed a workers’ compensation claim, this violates both federal and state law.
If you have been fired while on workers’ compensation leave, you may still be able to receive various categories of workers’ compensation benefits. Sometimes, the responsible insurance carrier will discontinue benefits following termination. That said, your former employer may try to contest the point – if this happens, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced attorney who can work with you so you can receive the benefits to which you are entitled.
Call A Stratford, CT Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you are injured at work, know that your job is not 100 percent safe while you are out on leave – but if your employer acts unlawfully, you have the right to pursue the benefits you deserve. A Stratford workers’ compensation attorney from the Morizio Law Firm can help – call our office today for a free consultation.