Can You Be Fired By Your Employer While on Workers Compensation in Virginia?

Suffering from an injury at work can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Many employees hesitate to file for workers’ compensation in fear that it might affect their job or their employer will fire them. Most of them have a question -can I be fired while on workers’ compensation? 

If you are a victim of getting fired while on workers’ compensation, a Richmond workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure that your rights are reserved, and you get the justice you deserve. 

Like other states, Virginia is also an at-will state. This means your employer can fire you without any reason (except for unlawful behavior). Unfortunately, this means you can be fired while being on workers’ compensation. 

However, your employer cannot just fire you solely because you filed a workers’ compensation. Irrespective of who was at fault, if an employee is injured at the workplace, they hold all the rights to file for compensation. To fire you, your employer needs to show a reason other than you filing for workers’ compensation or due to your injury. 

Can Workers’ compensation cover wrongful termination?

Workers’ compensation covers lost wages due to injuries at work and medical expenses. However, wrongful termination is not covered by the workers’ compensation. If you are a victim of wrongful termination, you can file a lawsuit against the employer to get compensation. Your lawyer can help you understand if your case falls under wrongful termination and provide the correct steps to file a lawsuit. 

Can your employer let you go due to your injury?

Unfortunately, a workers’ compensation claim does not mean your employer has to hold your job. Your employee can let you go if they feel your injuries prevent you from working at your best potential. However, they may have to wait until they can do so. 

Your employer can let you go unless they have a valid reason, not just because you have filed for workers’ compensation. Some of the legal reasons include:

  • Poor performance at work. 
  • Your company is experiencing layoffs. 
  • You are not meeting the physical requirements to perform your job. 
  • You are involved in criminal behavior. 
  • You broke the company rules or went against the company’s code of conduct. 
  • You were abusive or involved in anything that was against the company’s rules. 
  • Absent or attendance issues. 

Note that if you receive your medical treatments through workers’ compensation, you losing your job will not affect the benefits. You will continue to get the medical expenses until your doctor declares you are completely fit and do not need additional treatment.

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