can a job fire you while on workers comp

can a job fire you while on workers comp

Can a Job Fire You While on Workers Comp?

The quick answer is “Yes, but there are additional protections against unjustified termination”.

An employee can be terminated while they are on workers’ compensation, but there are rules and regulations to ensure that employers are not taking advantage and that employees are not being unduly disadvantaged by their rights to workers’ compensation being abused.

Although a termination seems like clear evidence of an unfair act, a greater context can change the interpretation of the act. Generally, an employer can fire any employee for any reason, employees who are on workers’ compensation are not always exempt from any of these terminations.

Reasons for Termination

An employee may be fired for legitimate reasons like layoffs or lack of work, inability to perform the job, misconduct or insubordination, and medical reasons of a genuine nature. If these reasons are found to be true and valid, then an employee on workers’ compensation may also be terminated.

Legal Protection Against Wrongful Dismissal

Legal protection exists to protect employees from wrongful dismissal while they are on workers’ compensation.

Here are the protections that employees have:

  • Discrimination – Employers are not allowed to terminate an employee because they are on workers’ compensation
  • Retaliation – Employers cannot terminate an employee because they filed a workers’ compensation claim
  • Harassment – Employers cannot harass an employee for participating in a workers’ compensation claim or process

If an employer is found guilty of any of the above forms of behavior, then the employee may be able to receive compensation as well as their job back.

Bottom Line

An employee who is on workers’ compensation can be terminated, provided that the termination is for legitimate reasons. Employees have legal protection from termination based on discriminatory or retaliatory reasoning, so if you have been terminated while on workers’ comp and feel you were unfairly dismissed, consult with a lawyer to learn more about your legal rights.


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