Can I Be Fired While on Workers’ Compensation?

can I be fired while on workers compensation It’s common for injured workers to have concerns about their job security while on workers’ compensation. The fear of termination during a vulnerable period can be daunting. Understanding the intricacies of employment rights in such situations is crucial.

Are there circumstances under which you can be fired while on workers’ compensation in Maryland? Here’s what you need to know.

Maryland Workers’ Compensation Protections

Maryland law provides certain safeguards for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. These protections are designed to ensure that injured workers receive the necessary medical care, wage replacement, and rehabilitation services without fear of retaliation from their employers.

Employment at Will

Maryland follows the employment-at-will doctrine, which means that employers have the right to terminate employees for any reason, with or without cause. However, this does not mean employers have unfettered discretion, especially when it comes to firing an employee on workers’ compensation.

Anti-Retaliation Provisions

Maryland workers are protected from retaliation. Employers cannot retaliate against employees for filing workers’ compensation claims. This means that an employer cannot terminate an employee solely because they sought workers’ compensation benefits.

Instances Where Termination May Be Permissible

While anti-retaliation provisions offer protection, there are certain circumstances where termination may still be legally permissible:

Violating Company Policies

If an injured employee violates legitimate and consistently applied company policies or engages in misconduct unrelated to the workers’ compensation claim, termination may be considered.

Reduction in Workforce

If an employer undergoes a legitimate reduction in workforce due to economic factors or restructuring, termination may occur. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the decision is not a pretext for retaliation.

Failure to Return to Work

An employer may have the right to terminate an employee who, despite being cleared by a medical professional, refuses to return to work or fails to adhere to reasonable accommodations provided by the employer.

Protecting Your Rights

Understanding your rights and taking proactive steps to protect them is vital if you find yourself on workers’ compensation and facing potential termination:

Open Communication

Maintain open communication with your employer regarding your medical condition, treatment plan, and anticipated return-to-work timeline. Transparency can foster a better understanding of your situation.

Consult with Your Healthcare Provider

Keep your healthcare provider informed about your job duties and any accommodations you may need upon your return. This information can be crucial in establishing your capacity to perform your job.

Document Everything

Keep thorough records of all communications with your employer, healthcare providers, and anyone else involved in your workers’ compensation claim. This documentation can serve as valuable evidence in case of disputes.

Seek Legal Counsel

If you feel that your termination is unjust or retaliatory, seeking legal counsel is crucial. A workers’ compensation attorney can assess the specifics of your case, guide you through the legal process, and advocate for your rights.

While Maryland workers’ compensation laws aim to protect injured workers from retaliation, the complexity of employment-at-will and other legal considerations can create uncertainties. If you believe you were fired unjustly while on workers’ compensation, it’s essential to consult with an experienced attorney. Understanding your rights and taking proactive steps can help safeguard your employment and financial stability during a challenging period of recovery.

If you’re in Baltimore, MD or the surrounding area, Shugarman & Mehring is available to discuss your unique situation. To speak to someone about your injuries or your workers’ compensation claim, contact Shugarman & Mehring at (410) 783-4200 or toll-free at (888) 342-7200.

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