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Ways Your Employer May Try to Fire You After a Workers' Compensation ClaimYour employer cannot fire you in retaliation for you filing a workers’ compensation claim. Doing so would allow you to file a wrongful termination lawsuit and could also result in criminal penalties against your employer. However, your employer can legally terminate your employment after you have filed a workers’ compensation claim if there is another reason for your termination. If you believe that your employer is punishing you for your injury claim, you must document your employer’s actions as evidence of their retaliation.

Reasons for Firing

Most employers are smart enough to not tell you that they are firing you because of your workers’ compensation claim. However, your employer could be looking for an excuse to fire you that they can say was unrelated to your claim. Valid reasons to terminate your employment could include:

  • Misconduct on your part;
  • Layoffs due to a declining budget;
  • Not having a job that can accommodate your physical restrictions after you have reached maximum medical improvement; or
  • You refusing to accept a new position with your employer that accommodates your needs.

Firing you would not let your employer’s insurer off the hook for your workers’ compensation claim. You could still receive a settlement and benefits for your injury. Instead, your employer may be trying to replace you with a healthy employee who has no work restrictions.

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Employees Protected Against Retaliation for Workers' Compensation ClaimsStates require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance in order to prevent employees from suing their employers after being injured on the job. The employee has a chance to receive benefits covering the cost of medical expenses and lost wages. The employer avoids a more costly court case, while its insurance provider covers the compensation costs. However, an insurer will increase the premiums on its coverage when an employer has an above average number of cases. This gives the employer an incentive to try to dispute the workers’ compensation claim. Some employers punish employees who try to file claims. In such cases, the employee can sue his or her employer for retaliation.

Forms of Retaliation

The most damaging way employers can retaliate against their workers is by terminating their employment. Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation Act prohibits an employer from discharging or threatening to discharge an employee because he or she is pursuing the right to seek workers’ compensation. Retaliation can take forms other than firing an employee, such as:

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