Last Updated: October 28, 2022

Will I Get Fired If I Have A Work Injury? Can I Get Fired For Doing A Workers Comp Case?

Is It Right To Get Fired After A Workers Comp Case?

There's one other question I get a lot. It's funny because I get it a lot for people who work for crummy like factory jobs that don't respect the employee and then I also get it from people who work at surprisingly good companies.

It surprises me that they worry about it. Maybe they worry about it for different reasons, like if you work for an excellent company you're terrified of losing the job or if you work for a really crummy company you're afraid of what they do to people, they just chew them up and spit them out. 

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Retaliatory Discharge

The question a lot of people have for me is, if I file workers comp can they fire me? Obviously that's a serious question. I understand why people would be worried about that. It is actually against federal law for a company to fire you for filing workers comp. They're not allowed to do that. It's called retaliatory discharge, and during the years, I've referred some people to attorneys who do retaliatory discharge and I've done a little bit of work on some of them as well.

If you've been fired because you filed a worker's comp claim, give me a call or talk to a lawyer because it's against the law. But here's the wrinkle and most workers' comp lawyers will not tell you this because they're afraid if they tell you this that you won't file a worker's comp claim and then they won't get a fee. But this is really the truth.

Employment Control

Who controls your employment file? Do you control it or does somebody in the HR department control it? When your boss is checking to see if everybody showed up on time, does your boss keep the paperwork or you do you keep the paperwork?

You can probably see where I'm going with this. The bottom line is, it is really true, Illinois is an at-will state, employment at-will, so they can fire you for any reason or no reason except for racism, retaliatory discharge or a couple of other things. But basically they can let you go. If you're late once they can fire you. The exception is, if you work at a union place the contract between the Union and the employer means that there's probably like steps they have to take before they can fire somebody.

Manipulation Of Records

If you don't work at a union shop, what I've seen in the past is they can create paper. I represented this guy one time who had I think it was like an ankle injury and it was a serious one. He needed a second surgery, he was out of work. And then they returned him to work light duty and after about a month they fired him so he called, me very upset and I talked to him. Then I called the insurance company and said "hey the employer fired this guy so what's going on?"

They investigated it. They called me back and said "well he's been late six times in the month that he's been working light duty" and so I called my client. He said, "no way, I'm never late, I get a ride with another guy and he wasn't written up for being late so how could I be late?"

Work For A Company That Treats You Well

The moral of the story is, if they really want to get rid of you, they are going to get rid of you one way or the other. So the question you have to ask yourself is, do you want to work at a company where you get hurt doing their work and then they've just launched you and then they are willing to lie to get rid of you? Do you want to work for a place like that? I mean my answer would be no, obviously your circumstances may be different. You may really need the job or your job market might be tight. But I'd way rather probably see you get a job somewhere where they treat you well.

A Rare Occurrence

Now the last thing I'll say about it is, this seldom comes up so I mean I've handled thousands of workers comp cases over my career so far. And people getting fired, maybe 10-15 times, it's even been an issue. It's a rare occurrence, but it's things that when people get hurt at work they worry about so I figured I'd make an article and give you the information on it. I hope that info helps. If I can be of assistance or you have any questions or if you have a comp claim that you need help on definitely give me a call.

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