Before we go any further, let us clarify the title statement. What may be more accurate than, “Won’t Get You Fired”, would be to say, “Shouldn’t Get You Fired”. Because it shouldn’t – that’s against the law. But things happen every day that are against the law. Technically speaking, filing a workers’ compensation claim should not have any effect on your employment status whatsoever. Unfortunately, some employers think they are above the law.
If you or someone you know has ever been fired, seemingly because they filed a workers’ compensation claim and nothing more, it’s time to retain the services of a legal representative familiar with workers’ comp claims.
Injured But Afraid To File?
Generally speaking – if you are injured on the job but are hesitant to a file workers’ compensation claim, you’re hurting yourself even more! Failure to file means that your right to injury compensation will be lost. Your employer has no legal obligation to you, and you can’t sue them if you don’t file.
In South Carolina, however, rather than take away your right to sue the company you work for, workers’ compensation insurance is a requirement for your employer. This way, on-the-job injuries are covered.
Even with that in place and required by the South Carolina legislature, if you’ve been hurt on the job, some employers may still try to fire you. Again – this is against the law! Now you have two reasons to acquire an attorney:
- for compensation regarding your injuries,
- sue your employer for wrongful termination.
Suing an Employer for Wrongful Termination
This type of lawsuit for wrongful termination applies only to termination related to the filing of a workers’ compensation claim. If you are successful in your wrongful termination lawsuit, the following would be in effect regarding your employer:
- Your on-the-job injuries must be compensated for (those originally stated in your workers’ comp claim).
- Any wages that you lost due to the termination must be turned over to you.
- The position you held before the wrongful termination must be restored to you.
The above three points also apply if, for filing a workers’ comp claim, you were demoted (as opposed to being terminated).
The problem here lies in the reasoning behind the wrongful termination. Most employers will not simply admit outright that they fired you because you filed a claim. They’ll use some other reason that they consider valid. It will be up to you and your legal representative to prove your case.
Wrongful Termination Versus Rightful Termination
Whether or not they are related to your workers’ compensation claim, there are reasons for rightful termination including bad job performance and misconduct. If any of the following apply to you, your employer can fire you, well within the law:
- If written company policy states that termination is a consequence of a particular violation, and you are guilty of that violation.
- Stealing on the job.
- Pretending to be hurt or malingering – even though you’re not hurt.
- Work standards are simply not being met.
- Destruction of property on the job.
- While at work, disorderly, high, or drunk.
- Not showing up for work or willfully being late.
If you, a loved one, or someone you know has been wrongfully terminated after filing a workers’ compensation case, don’t wait another minute to take action. You are entitled to certain rights in South Carolina. You need a reputable, experienced workers’ compensation attorney who will fight for those rights.
Contact us at Cardinal Law Partner. We can help you protect your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.