Firing an Employee While They Are Out on Workman's Comp

Written by on 10/23/2017 3:17 AM in , , , , . It has 1 Comments.

Thinking about terminating an employee who has filed a workman's comp claim? Extreme caution is warranted in navigating these dangerous waters.

State Laws Protect Workers
Terminating an employee who has filed a workman's comp claim is not prohibited. Most states, however, impose stiff penalties for those incidences deemed wrongful termination: When an employee is fired because of their claim. This can include fines, jail time, or both.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Retaliation & Wrongful Termination Claims

  • Know Statutory Worker Protections
    Most state statutes indicate it is unlawful to discipline/terminate an employee who has filed a claim, and is considered a crime.
  • Stay True to Company (Handbook) Rules and Policies . . .
    Including rules for progressive discipline and termination. Does your safety handbook note these specific termination grounds? Has the employee been counseled verbally/in writing?
  • Consider How Similar Situations Have Been Handled
    If termination is harsher than past punishments you have handed out for a similar offense, the firing could be seen as retaliation or discrimination.
  • Carefully Reflect On Facts, Circumstances and Timing
    If an employee was being investigated for misconduct four weeks ago, but suffered an injury 3 weeks later, documented disciplinary actions and witness testimony could support a later termination, as the length of the investigation may not be seen as related to the claim. If you took no disciplinary or investigative steps, however, establishing the termination as unrelated to the workman’s comp claim will be difficult to prove.

Workman's comp waters seem particularly shark infested as of late? The experts at Minnesota Comp Advisor can help you find your way to safety. Learn how we can help you avoid workers comp risks today.


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