Can You Collect Workers’ Comp After Being Fired?
In North Carolina, you are entitled to continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits as long as you are under doctor’s restrictions and unable to find a job or return to work. However, if your restrictions are lifted, but you can’t return to work because you were fired for other reasons, such as misconduct, you may lose your benefits.
Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Collier Law for assistance with your workers’ comp case to learn more about your benefits and rights.
North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation System
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act was created in 1929. The Act provides that employers or their insurance carrier pay benefits to an injured worker who is injured or becomes disabled due to a work-related injury. The Workers’ Compensation Act allows employers to self-insure if they can show financial ability to do so.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault system in North Carolina, which means that the injured worker does not have to prove that their employer was at fault for the injury in order to receive benefits.
Can Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim Get Me Fired?
No, you cannot be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim. In fact, under North Carolina workers’ compensation law, it is illegal for your employer to fire you or take any other type of retaliatory action against you because you filed a claim.
However, North Carolina is an at-will employment state, which means they can choose to fire an at-will employee for other reasons such as misconduct or an inability to perform their essential job duties.
Can I Get Fired While on Workers’ Compensation?
Generally, you cannot get fired while you are on workers’ compensation. An exception to this is if an employer finds evidence during the injured workers’ absence that indicates they weren’t performing their job duties correctly.
If this is the case for you, you still may have a case for a claim against retaliatory firing. Contact Collier Law. We can help you determine if the misconduct claims will hold up in court.
What is Considered Wrongful Termination in North Carolina?
There is no one answer to this question as the definition of wrongful termination can vary from state to state. However, some general things that could constitute wrongful termination include:
- Firing an employee for refusing to do something illegal
- Firing an employee in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim or taking other legal action related to their job
- Firing an employee because of their race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability
- Firing an employee in violation of state or federal law
What is North Carolina’s Retaliatory Discharge Act (REDA)?
REDA prohibits employers from discharging or discriminating against employees who have exercised their rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act. This includes filing a workers’ compensation claim, testifying in court, or cooperating with the Department of Labor investigation.
If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated for any reason related to your workplace injury, contact Collier Law for a free consultation. We can help you determine if you have a case and what to do next.
What If I Can Return to Work, But I Have Restrictions?
Employers are required to make a reasonable effort to make accommodations to fit your restrictions or offer a suitable position that offers similar wages and benefits. If they can’t accommodate you, you could be let go based on your employer no longer being able to find a way to help you continue working in your former position.
If you cannot return to work or no modified work is available, you will continue receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
How Collier Law Can Help You With the Workers’ Compensation Process
You are so much more than a number to us: we value our attorney-client relationship and getting the justice you deserve. We are advocates for injured employees. Call for a free consultation to find out how we may assist you.