What If I’m Laid Off While Receiving Workers’ Compensation?
When an injured worker is focused on healing, it is likely they are not thinking about what will happen to their workers’ compensation if they are laid off from their job, but layoffs and terminations do happen. While there are legal reasons to let someone go, including economic retractions, an employer cannot legally let a person go as retaliation for filing for workers’ compensation.
After a layoff, there is a lot to worry about, including what future job opportunities are available. Add to that the stress of injury, worrying about workers’ comp benefits and support is likely. If you lost your Maryland job and have questions, contact a Baltimore workers’ compensation lawyer.
Will My Benefits Continue After a Layoff?
Typically, workers’ compensation benefits will continue if you were already receiving them prior to the layoff. After all, the injury happened while you were working, when you had the job and had access to the benefits being provided. It also may be possible to receive benefits after being fired, until the claimant reaches “maximum medical improvement.” But, if there was a discipline issue cited there could be the possibility of losing the payments.
Even when a layoff occurs because an organization is going out of business benefits will likely continue based on the physical status of the claimant. After all, the payments are from the workers’ compensation insurance policy carried by the employer, not by the employer themselves.
Retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim is illegal. An employer cannot layoff an employee for filing a claim, there must be a legal reason for the layoff. When it appears retaliation was practiced, there are additional protections, a claimant may have.
Does an Employer Need a Reason When Terminating an At-Will Employee?
No, there does not have to be a reason. At will employment is when employers can let an employee go at any time, provided they are not participating in an illegal firing (discrimination, for example). But, if there is a contract in place between the employer and the employee, the employer may fire an employee only for reasons listed within the employment contract.
When an at will employee is let go the employer does not have a responsibility to keep the job position in place for their return. They can opt to hire another for that position. This can be complicated in the event of a person laid off while on workers’ compensation because if the employer chooses to rehire, they could hire another person before the injured party was able to heal.
If you are in a situation where your workers’ compensation claim was denied, you were fired because of retaliation for filing a claim, or have questions about how a recent layoff impacts your claim, talk to a Baltimore workers’ compensation lawyer.
Do you need an attorney fighting for your workplace injury? Contact the attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP to understand your rights. We work to recover financial damages for our clients. Contact us today for a free initial consultation about your workers’ compensation benefits claim and your rights as an employee.