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. Some employees are protected from being fired for reasons by the law. According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees are protected from being discriminated against, or terminated from their job, on the bases of race, religion, skin color, sex, or national origin. Also, an injured worker cannot be terminated on the grounds of filing a worker’s compensation claim, according to the Texas Worker’s Compensation Act Section 451.001.
While this is true, this does not mean that workers who file a worker’s comp claim are not able to be fired. Terminating an injured employee could be explained in a number of possible reasons. These reasons include:
- If the injured employee’s job is very important to the business and the work must be done, the employer can terminate the injured worker, so that they may replace them
- If the business is going through difficult times, the manager may decide to terminate the injured worker
- If the injured worker can no longer perform their job functions due to their injury, and there is no way the injured worker could do any other jobs at the business, the employer may be able to terminate the injured 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.
If you or someone you know has been terminated because of your worker’s comp claim, it is important that you get in contact with a Texas worker’s comp attorney today.