Proving that your termination was an act of retaliation on the part of your employer can be tricky. Here’s what you need to know.
Accidents can happen to anyone on the job. If you are involved in one, then you will likely need to take some time off work. The same goes for acquiring a work-related illness.
In both cases, you may need to file a workers’ compensation claim, which can render you open to retaliation from your employer as this could be used by their insurer as a ground for raising premium rates. If you have been on the receiving end of workplace retaliation over a recent workers’ compensation claim, it is very important that you discuss your claim with an experienced work injury lawyer if you have not done so already.
While Missouri law protects employees from discrimination based on work-related injury or because they filed a worker’s comp claim, there are several legal ways an employer can go around this mandate. This means you are not necessarily guaranteed job protection.
Legal Grounds for Termination
Knowing your rights means discerning whether or not you have been wrongfully terminated.
In Missouri, an employer can fire an employee while the latter is on workers’ comp if they incur post-injury absence from work. This requires a physician’s certification by the company that the employee is capable of working, albeit with restrictions.
In addition, the employer is not required to guarantee job protection, or to offer another position, if the employee is physically incapable of performing their original role after their medical treatment.
Department- or company-wide terminations conducted after your workers’ comp claim can be just a coincidence if you are included in the list. This is especially true if the layoffs happen weeks or months later. What you need to watch out for is when your termination is isolated or sanctioned just a few days or weeks following your disability leave.
History of Poor Performance
Your employer can fire you after your comp claim filing if their documentation of your work history proves that you had discipline issues or low productivity even prior to the work-related injury. However, if this is not the case, and they cannot provide a legitimate reason for letting you go, then you may suspect that retaliation was behind the action.
What to Do if You Were Terminated Without Cause
Did you lose your job after filing a workers’ compensation claim? If you believe that your employer is retaliating, get in touch with an experienced attorney to see if you have a case and what your legal rights are moving forward.
A retaliation claim could make you eligible for additional compensation for lost wages over and above that which you have received from your workers’ comp claim. You may even be reinstated in your job. However, proving that your termination was in fact an act of retaliation on the part of your employer can be tricky.
If you are still confused and don’t know how to proceed, our Missouri worker’s compensation attorneys are available to help and provide consultation free of charge.