Can I be fired from my job while I’m on workers’ comp?

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Can I be fired from my job while I’m on workers’ comp?

I’m on workmans comp due to injuring myself on the job. I had surgery. Then I had to have another surgery and they fired me. Can they do that?

Asked on September 14, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. You can be terminated while on worker's compensation unless doing so violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. More specifically, if your employer is having lay-offs or is already planning on firing you due to poor performance, they are completely within their rights to discharge you while you are on workers’ comp. Basically, an employer can terminate a worker for any reason or no reason at all, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination. The exception being that your employer is not allowed to fire you solely because you applied for, or are on, workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, it is often very difficult to prove the exact reason as to why a worker was dismissed.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. You can be terminated while on worker's compensation unless doing so violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. More specifically, if your employer is having lay-offs or is already planning on firing you due to poor performance, they are completely within their rights to discharge you while you are on workers’ comp. Basically, an employer can terminate a worker for any reason or no reason at all, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination. The exception being that your employer is not allowed to fire you solely because you applied for, or are on, workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, it is often very difficult to prove the exact reason as to why a worker was dismissed.


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