Life can change in an instant if you suffer from a work related injury. An injury can leave you with a permanent or temporary disability that may leave you in significant pain and unable to earn an income. Employees who have been hurt, and their employers, often wonder whether the employees have a continued right to maintain their jobs after they suffer an injury.
Most states have laws that make it illegal to fire an employee solely because the employee has suffered a workplace injury and made a claim. However, an employee may be fired if the injury makes the employee unable to complete the employee’s essential job responsibilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that an employer make reasonable accommodations before firing an employee. For example, the employer may have to create a modified work schedule, provide modified equipment, or restructure the job to meet the needs created by the injury. Most often, employers will make these accommodations if they can be done for a reasonable cost and/or if the employee only suffers a temporary disability.
Sometimes an employer does not want to make the necessary accommodations and may pressure or harass the employee to leave the job. Injury harassment is not an acceptable way for an employer to deal with a work injury. The employer has a duty to work with the employee to try to come up with ways to modify the employee's job.
Employers who are considering firing an injured employee, as well as injured employees who are facing termination can benefit from contacting a labor lawyer. An employment attorney can help determine whether reasonable accommodations can be made to the position to allow the employee to continue working, whether the employer is justified in making a termination, and whether the employee may be entitled to any damages as a result of a termination.