Can A Person Be Laid Off While On Workers’ Comp

Employers are legally allowed to conduct layoffs that impact injured workers who are out on workers comp. For example, an employer may shut down a department or a facility, and this kind of layoff may include an injured worker. The employer is not obligated to preserve or protect your job in this situation.

What Constitutes a Legal Layoff While on Workers’ Comp?

Employers are not required to give special treatment to those on workers’ compensation benefits. Simply being on workers’ comp for temporary disability does not protect you from being laid off. Employees on leave can be fired or laid off for any legal reason not related to the injury. Layoffs are usually well-thought out and planned in advance.

So, if you think you have been targeted, look at the bigger picture to be sure. If your employer has proof that the layoff you experienced was planned in advance and impacted other employees besides you, you would not have a case for wrongful termination. A company is well within its rights to protect its financial stability even if some employees lose their jobs in the process.

Defining Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In order to answer the question of whether you can be laid off while on workers’ comp, let’s first define what workers’ comp is and what it covers.

Workers’ compensation is a type of mandatory insurance that all employers are required to have in the event that an employee becomes ill or injured as a direct result of their job. If this were to happen, workers’ comp benefits would cover the employee’s lost wages, medical costs, and potentially their rehabilitation expenses. These benefits enable employees to pay their bills and cover their living expenses while they are recovering and unable to work. If an employee accepts these benefits, they forfeit their rights to sue the company for negligence.

What Is Illegal Retaliation?

All states have laws that prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who ask for or receive workers compensation benefits. An employer cannot fire, demote, harass, lay off, or otherwise harm these employees because they are exercising their rights under the workers comp system. An employee who has been the victim of unlawful retaliation can sue the employer for wrongful termination.

In most states, however, employers arent required to give special treatment to employees just because theyre out on temporary disability leave. Employers in these states may lay off or fire injured employees who are on leave for any legal reason (meaning that its not illegal retaliation).

Learn more about whether and where injured employees have job-protected workers comp leave.

How often will an employer actually admit to firing an employee because they filed for workers comp? Almost never. In most cases, the employer will cite another reason—say, a business downturn or poor performance—as a pretext for the firing.

So how can you determine the real reason? This is where an employment lawyer generally gets involved. In a lawsuit for wrongful termination, your lawyer will try to gather evidence to show that the employers cited reason for the layoff was merely a pretext.

For example, if your employer cites poor performance, your attorney can argue that you never received a negative performance review. If your employer cites a lack of business or an economic downturn, your attorney can ask why similarly situated employees were not also laid off.

In a wrongful termination case, it will be up to the judge or jury to sort out the fact from the fiction.

Can You Get Laid Off While On Workers Comp


How does Workmans Comp work in CT?

The State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Program requires that an employee report a work-related injury or illness to his/her employer immediately. For injuries prohibiting the employee from immediately notifying his/her supervisor, the supervisor, on behalf of the injured employee, can directly report the claim.

Can my employer cancel my health insurance while on workers comp California?

Employer policy regarding worker benefits

Your employer is not required by any law to continue your benefits unless you have a union contract or another written contract.

Can you be fired while on workers comp in Wisconsin?

While workers cannot be fired in Wisconsin while on workers’ compensation, there are also protections when it comes to returning to the job. For example, employers need reasonable cause to refuse to rehire a worker from their previous job.

Does my employer have to hold my job while on workers comp in Illinois?

Technically, you cannot be fired because you sustained an injury or reported the injury, but you can still lose your job while collecting workers’ compensation benefits.

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