Can I be Fired for Seeking Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Employees who are injured while on the job are often afraid to seek the workers’ compensation benefits that they are legally entitled to because they fear that if they do, their employer will be upset and retaliate against them. This fear is completely understandable, but it is important for injured employees to understand that in Georgia, workers’ compensation retaliation is illegal. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly by your employer, consult an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer at The Angell Law Firm, LLC.
It is illegal for an employer in Georgia to punish an injured employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits by engaging in any of the following actions:
- Firing the employee,
- Reducing the employee’s work hours,
- Assigning the employee undesirable tasks or shifts,
- Refusing to grant a promotion that the employee,
- Giving the employee a poor performance review, or
- Threatening to engage in any of the prohibited actions listed above.
The first thing you need to understand is that most employer-employee relationships in Georgia are governed by the legal principle of “at-will employment.” This simply means that an employee can generally be fired at any time without notice and that an employee has the right to terminate his or her employment any time without reason. If you feel you may have been terminated for the wrong reasons, consult with a workers’ compensation attorney serving Atlanta.
There are several important exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine, including the following:
- An employee can not be fire for a discriminatory reason,
- An employee can not be fired if doing so violates the terms of the employee’s employment contract, and
- An employee can not be fired out of retaliation for performing a legally protected act.
In Georgia, seeking workers’ compensation is a legally protected act. Therefore, it is illegal for an employer in Georgia to fire an employee in retaliation for seeking such benefits. Unfortunately, proving that an employer fired an employee because they filed for workers’ compensation benefits can be quite challenging. This is because an employer who can point to any legitimate reason for terminating the employee’s contract will often be able to get off the hook. For example, if the employee has a record of being late or being subjected to disciplinary actions, an unscrupulous employer may be able to claim that the employee was fired because of poor performance and not because the or she filed for workers’ compensation.
Do not get discouraged. If you were in fact wrongfully terminated for seeking workers’ compensation an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to present your case in such as way as to clearly demonstrate to the court what truly happened.Need Legal Advice?
If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job after seeking workers’ compensation, or if you have legal questions about your rights under Georgia’s workers’ compensation system, contact the Angell Law Firm, LLC today. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys serving Atlanta are committed to fighting for workers’ rights and have years of experience helping injured clients obtain the benefits to which they are legally entitled. We would be happy to discuss your legal options during a free and confidential initial consultation at our Atlanta office, simply call us at (770) 217-4954 to schedule a meeting.See Related Blog Posts