After an injured worker has filed for workers’ comp, the injured worker’s employment status could be changed drastically. Sure, a boss may not discriminate against an injured employee after they have filed a worker’s compensation report, but the employer can fire the worker on other terms.
Texas is categorized as an at will employment state, this means that a boss can fire any employee for any reason, as long as, it is not a reason protected by the law. On the contrary, a laborer may also quit for any reason in an at will employment situation. Sometimes a worker can be protected from being terminated for particular reasons by law. For instance, employees are protected under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, from being discriminated against on the terms of their race, religion, skin color, sex, or national origin. Likewise, an injured employee may not be fired because of filing a worker’s comp claim under the Texas Worker’s Compensation Act Section 451.001.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that injured workers who have filed a claim have immunity from being fired. There are multiple reasons why an injured employee may be fired. For instance:
- If the injured worker’s job is crucial to business operations, the employer may have to fire the injured worker and replace them
- Sometimes a business may be going through slow times, so the boss could be justified in terminating the injured employee
- If the injured employee is no longer able to physically perform their job tasks due to the injury, and if there are no substitutions in the company, the employer could terminate the worker
- However, if the boss has terminated the individual just because he filed a worker’s comp claim, there may be the chance of a wrongful termination lawsuit pitted against the boss.
- If there are any kinds of stray comments made by the employer, or by anyone authorized to hire and fire employees, in regards to the individual for filling worker’s comp, could be used as good evidence the “real” reason behind terminating the injured worker, was only because he had filed worker’s comp, and thus making the termination retaliatory in nature.
Any injured employee that believes they have been fired for simply filling out a worker’s compensation claim, they should talk to a Texas worker’s compensation attorney immediately.