Can I Get Fired While on Workers’ Comp? 1 Major Legal Factor
Getting fired while on workers’ comp is a possibility, but it may be for reasons other than what you might think.
An employee can be fired while on workers’ comp in the state of California. Still, there are factors that can help the terminated employee with benefits.
Workers’ compensation is available to most California employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness while performing an on-the-job task. Some employees, like independent contractors, do not qualify.
Workers’ comp can help assist the injured or ill employee with benefits including:
- Medical benefits that may include doctor visits and other treatment services like tests, medicine, or additional medical equipment used to help treat an injury or illness.
- Temporary disability benefits that cover two-thirds of the gross (pre-tax) wages an employee loses as they recover from an on the job injury.
- Permanent disability benefits that cover wages if an employee cannot return to work/completely recover following an injury.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits, like receiving a voucher that can help with job retraining or employee skill enhancement.
- Death benefits for any dependents if the workplace injury or illness led to the employee’s death.
Despite getting injured, an employee may still get fired while on workers’ comp.
Remember, employment in California is at-will, meaning that both an employee and the employer have the right to end employment at any time. In the case of the employer, they must do so without violating any laws.
With that said, an employer cannot legally fire an employee because they were injured and received workers’ comp.
Think of two different situations and the legality behind them.
In the first situation, Ella, a warehouse worker, suffers a traumatic brain injury after a box falls on her head. She’s out of work for an extended period of time, and receives workers’ comp benefits.
While she’s out recovering, financial problems that started before she was injured catch up with her employer. The company must make layoffs, and Ella is terminated.
In the second situation, during Ella’s recovery period, she receives a call from her supervisor informing her that she is being fired and replaced with a worker who is physically able to start working.
Technically, the first situation is a legal practice. If Ella’s employer was really in a difficult financial situation and let go of multiple employees, they are not violating any laws.
However, in situation number two, Ella’s employer is breaking the law.
A company cannot fire an employee because of their injury. Ella is protected from being terminated due to her on-the-job injury.
What happens if Ella was legally terminated while out on workers’ comp?
Fortunately for her, she can still receive benefits even if she was fired while on workers’ comp. In the state of California, workers’ comp benefits are required for injured employees until they have reached what is considered maximum medical improvement.
Maximum medical improvement is when the injury or illness is stabilized and “is unlikely to improve with or without additional medical treatment”.
If you believe you were fired while on workers’ comp, you shouldn’t sit on the sidelines wondering what to do next.
At C&B Law Group, our Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to help bring you the justice you deserve.
No one should suffer because of an on-the-job injury. Being injured is difficult enough, but the financial burden about how to pay bills is an added layer of stress after getting fired while on workers’ comp.
The Southern California workers’ comp attorneys at C&B Law Group have helped those injured on the job recover millions of dollars.
Some of the most common workplace injuries include:
- Neck injuries such as whiplash
- Cuts or lacerations
- Broken or fractured bones
- Back injuries like a herniated disc
- Sprains or strains
- Damage to nerve fiber, or other spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Head injuries like a concussion
- Wrongful death
Fired while on workers’ comp? Contact the LA workers’ comp lawyers at C&B Law Group today to receive a free consultation.