Worker’s compensation is a system designed to assist workers who have become sick or injured at work. The Michigan Workers’ Disability Compensation Act is regulated by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.
Despite laws preventing employers from firing employees who file for workers’ compensation benefits, wrongful terminations still occur. Read on to learn what happens if you lose your job for filing a workers’ compensation claim and the most common reasons for unfair termination.
If you have any concerns about your workers’ compensation claim or feel that your employer may have violated the law when dealing with your claim, contact the experienced Michigan employment law lawyers at Fieger Law.
Can My Employer Fire Me During a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
No, you cannot be fired while injured and unable to work during a workers’ compensation claim. The Federal Family Medical Leave Act prohibits workers from losing their jobs due to injury or illness.
Additionally, you cannot be terminated for filing a workers’ compensation claim in the first place. Firing someone for seeking their legally mandated compensation is illegal, and an employer is prohibited from doing so under both Michigan and federal law.
However, Michigan is what is known as an at-will work state. This means that you or your employer can terminate your employment at any time and for almost any reason. Although retaliation is an exception, proving you were fired as retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim is difficult without the right legal representation.
Contact Fieger Law immediately if you were fired during or after filing a workers’ compensation claim. We will review the circumstances to determine if a wrongful termination occurred and help you understand your legal options.
What Would Happen if I Lost My Job While on Workers’ Compensation?
If your employer terminates your job while you are on workers’ compensation, you don’t lose your benefits until the time when you would have returned to work. These benefits continue so long as you meet the state’s disabled definition, which could be for the rest of your life.
Examples of Unfair Reasons for Termination
It is illegal to terminate a worker who filed a workers’ compensation claim, provided the worker followed the proper steps. Some examples of unlawful reasons to terminate a worker include:
- Reporting a job-related injury to the employer: If you are injured or fall ill at work in Michigan, notify your supervisor immediately. You cannot be legally terminated for doing so, and failing to do so could hurt your chances of getting your workers’ compensation benefits approved.
- Claiming workers’ comp within the deadline: You have 90 days to file your compensation claim, and your employer cannot fire you for filing it within that time frame.
- Not working or accepting a lighter workload without a doctor’s approval: Your employer can legally offer you minor work that won’t be affected by your injury or illness. However, you have the right to seek medical approval for any work. If your doctor doesn’t approve, you don’t have to do it.
- Seeking legal aid with your workers’ compensation claim: Every American is entitled to legal assistance in workers’ compensation claims, and you cannot be fired for pursuing it. If you are unsure about your claim, speak to the workers’ compensation lawyers at Fieger Law.
- Obtaining a doctor’s note that excuses you from work: Michigan law entitles everyone to reasonable and necessary medical care. Your physician may recommend that you miss work or take on a reduced workload to recover. Your employer cannot fire you for seeking treatment or following a doctor’s recommendations.
Reasons That Could Be Considered Justifiable for Termination
While it is generally illegal to fire a worker for filing a worker’s compensation claim, there are some circumstances where it is allowed. These situations include:
- Missing work without seeking medical care after a workplace injury
- Failing to follow your doctor’s treatment plan
- Missing work without a doctor’s note
- Engaging in horseplay while working that results in an injury
- Suffering an injury due to misuse of corporate equipment or failure to follow safety protocols
- Refusing light-duty work that’s approved by a doctor
No matter the reason your employer states for terminating you after a workers’ compensation claim, our experienced legal representation can help. Speak to the workers’ compensation lawyers at Fieger Law regarding your claim and related termination so we can review your case and help you stand up for your rights.
Wrongfully Fired? Our Employment Law Lawyers can Help
If you suffered wrongful termination due to a workers’ compensation claim in the state of Michigan or anywhere else in the United States, Fieger Law is ready to take your case.
Our employment law lawyers can review the details of your firing and offer you guidance on how to proceed with your case. We will help you get the justice you deserve. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation.