In Florida, workers’ compensation benefits are meant to provide monetary support after work causes injuries or illnesses.
While this is true, some workers are fired after a work accident, leaving them wondering where they stand regarding their benefits. Some workers’ benefits will be terminated at this point, which can leave them, financially, in a tough situation.
If you find yourself in this situation, you may wonder if this is legal and what options you have.
We encourage you to contact our workers’ compensation attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. for help with your situation. You can also learn more about it here.
Getting Fired While Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In a perfect world, no one should be concerned with being fired from their job while receiving workers’ compensation benefits and trying to recover from a work-related injury. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and many injured workers are laid off after an accident.
However, it is worth mentioning that employers do not have the right to fire an employee just for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If this happens, the firing is considered a retaliatory measure and illegal.
If an employee is fired for legal reasons, like there is no longer a need for their department, there is little that can be done.
At this point, you may wonder if your workers’ compensation benefits will be terminated too.
Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Being Fired
You can continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits after being fired. In fact, only specific reasons give your employer the right to terminate your benefits.
While this is true, two factors must be considered to determine if your workers’ compensation benefits will continue. These include:
- Current doctor’s restrictions
- Why were you fired
If your doctor has placed you under restrictions and you cannot return to work, you will likely be able to collect your benefits after being fired. The exception is if you are fired because of disciplinary actions.
Engaging in some misconduct while not being under doctor’s restrictions will prohibit you from continuing to collect benefits after being fired.
Acceptable Reasons for Employment Termination
As mentioned above, there are cases where employers retaliate after a worker files a workers’ compensation claim. However, there are also things that employees may do that result in their firing. Some legal causes of termination include the following:
- Not providing the required documentation for medical care for your injury or missed days at work.
- Refusing light duty work when your doctor has released you for this.
- Ignoring doctor’s restrictions and working in an unsafe manner.
- Improper use of company machines or equipment that results in an injury.
- Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while at work and experiencing an injury.
Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Directly Tied to Your Injuries
If your main concern is the status of your benefits, it is important to remember that they are tied to the injury, not your employment. Even if you are fired, you can keep receiving benefits if the injuries warrant this.
Situations Where Termination Is Retaliation
It is not always easy to uncover cases of retaliation. Most employers understand that firing someone for filing a workers’ compensation claim will result in a lawsuit. Because of this, they will likely attempt to cover up the employee termination with other seemingly legitimate reasons. For example, they may bring up excess days missed at work, tardiness, performance issues, and more. Usually, the issues cited are minor and unrelated.
If you know your past work performance reviews were mostly positive and you were not put on a performance improvement plan, then you should be suspicious if your employer comes up with excuses like this to fire you. Even if your employer claims there are other reasons behind your termination, it does not mean the motivation is not your workers’ compensation claim.
Even in these situations, you may be able to take legal action.
Steps to Take if You Believe You Are a Victim of Workplace Retaliation
Contact our legal team if you believe your termination results from retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. We can help you navigate complex employment issues, including when you are fired and your benefits terminated. Many employers believe they have covered their bases by stating performance issues as the reason for terminating your employment. However, experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can see through this and help you pursue the benefits you are entitled to.
As an injured worker in Florida, you have rights. You should not allow your employer to take these from you. The purpose of the workers’ compensation system is to protect injured workers. You are not causing harm to your employer by receiving the benefits you deserve. If your employer tries to terminate your benefits and fire you from your job, you will likely have a case. Our legal team can help you pursue a claim to recover what you deserve.
Understanding Your Workers’ Compensation Rights in Florida
Workers’ compensation laws in Florida can be complex and confusing. At Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., we understand how stressful it can be to have your benefits terminated and be fired from your job. While there are some situations where this is legal, many are not.
You can still receive benefits in many situations, even if you are fired. As mentioned above, the workers’ compensation benefits are awarded for your injury or illness and are not contingent on your continued employment.
Contact us today if you believe you have been unfairly fired, and your workers’ compensation benefits have been terminated. We can help you get what you deserve after a workplace injury.