Can your employer fire you for getting hurt on the job?

Job injuries are an ever-present risk for workers in any industry. Nurses could throw out their backs lifting a patient, while factory workers could lose a limb to a machine. Whether you experienced a catastrophic injury or developed a repetitive stress injury, you likely have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation. 

You can receive medical coverage and disability benefits if you must take an extended leave of absence from work. Workers often worry about filing claims because they don’t want to face punishment from their employer. Can a company fire you for a work injury or a workers’ compensation claim?

Retaliating against an injured worker violates the law

Federal law protects workers with medical conditions by requiring their employers to offer them reasonable accommodations. The rights you have as an employee also allow you to request appropriate benefits related to your work, such as workers’ compensation. 

Companies may dislike the risk of increased insurance premiums resulting from employees filing claims, but they should not try to stop their workers from seeking benefits. They must pay for workers’ compensation to protect each worker. Filing a claim is your right as an injured employee. An employer taking adverse action against a worker who gets hurt on the job likely constitutes retaliation

Your employer should not make any attempt to punish you for getting hurt on the job or claiming necessary benefits. That means they should not fire you, demote you, transfer you or cut your pay. If you experience these forms of illegal retaliation, you may be in a position to take legal action against your employer. Understanding your rights as a worker can help you fight back against a wrongful termination.