Can I Be Fired for Filing a Workers' Comp Claim?

Were you recently injured in a workplace accident? If so, you may be worried that if you file a workers’ compensation claim, you’ll lose your job. While it’s unfortunate that many Georgia employees think this way, it’s not without justification. It’s a reasonable concern because while employers are NOT supposed to let employees go for filing workers’ compensation claims, it does happen. The real question, is this practice legal?

According to the Georgia Secretary of State, “Georgia recognizes the doctrine of employment at will. Employment at will means that in the absence of a written contract of employment for a defined duration, an employer may terminate an employee for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all, so long as it is not an illegal cause.” So, what counts as an illegal cause for termination? Illegal causes of termination include firing people because of any of the following:

  • Pregnancy;
  • Race, color, sex, religion and national origin as protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Disability; and
  • Retaliation.

It is illegal for employers to terminate injured employees out of retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This does, however, happen because many employees are familiar with Georgia’s at will employment law, but they are not familiar with the fact that it’s illegal for employers to fire employees for filing workers’ compensation claims.

Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Law

According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, “The law requires any business with three or more workers, including regular part-time workers, to have workers’ compensation insurance.” If you are approved for benefits, “You are entitled to weekly income benefits if you are unable to work for more than 7 days. Your first check should be mailed to you within 21 days after the first day you missed work,” says the Board.

If you were injured in a workplace accident and are unable to work, you should contact our firm for assistance filing a claim. If you’re concerned that you’ll lose your job, remember, it’s against the law for your employer to fire you out of retaliation.

To learn more about your rights to compensation and to discuss filing a third party claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim, contact Jones & Swanson today.