Getting hurt on the job is a massive personal inconvenience. You will have to worry about paying medical bills, in addition to finding a way to pay your household costs while you have to take a couple of weeks off of work.
Most workers in Kentucky have the protection of workers’ compensation insurance to rely on in the event of a serious medical condition arising because of their employment. Workers’ compensation will cover 100% of an individual’s necessary medical costs and up to two-thirds of their weekly wages until they can return to work.
Some workers worry that their employer will punish them if they make a workers’ compensation claim and will instead use their own health insurance to cover their treatment. Can your employer fire you for filing a workers’ compensation plan?
Employers cannot retaliate against workers who need benefits
Federal disability laws prohibit employers from discriminating against workers who have medical conditions, and anti-retaliation laws prevent employers from punishing employees who assert their basic rights. That includes the right to request workers’ compensation benefits after an injury on the job or a diagnosis with a work-acquired medical condition.
Your employer cannot fire you for claiming benefits or otherwise punish you for utilizing your employment rights, like asking for accommodations to return to work.
You can lose your job during a workers’ compensation claim
Receiving workers’ compensation benefits does not unilaterally protect you from the loss of your job. There are still several circumstances in which your employer could terminate you without violating your rights.
For example, if the company had already started the process of merging or downsizing, they could eliminate your job or your department without violating your rights. After all, the decision is a reflection of strategic changes throughout the company, rather than retaliation against you.
On the other hand, there may come a point when you have been out of work for months when the company may be able to justify terminating you. Given that you have used all of your paid time off and all of your FMLA leave, they may no longer need to accommodate you.
If you believe that your employer’s decision to terminate you was retaliation, you can potentially fight back. Even if your employer can justify their decision to end your employment arrangements, that will not necessarily end your right to workers’ compensation benefits. Understanding the rules that apply to Kentucky workers’ compensation can help you protect yourself during the claims process.