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Do These Five Things if You Were Fired While on Light Duty for a Work Injury

If you were fired while on light duty for a work injury, you should learn why you were fired to determine if the reason was lawful. Evidence of your injury, work accommodations, and reason for termination can potentially provide you with grounds for a lawsuit if you were wrongfully terminated.

Stay aware of your rights—you can still receive workers’ comp benefits, including for lost income, even if you’re fired. The workers’ compensation lawyers from KJT Law Group can assess your rights and represent you. We offer free case reviews where you can learn more.

Determine Why You Were Fired While on Light Duty

Employers cannot fire you for getting injured, but they can fire you for other reasons, even if you are recovering from an injury, receiving workers’ compensation, and returning to light work. However, they must have a legal reason for letting you go. Knowing what steps to take following job termination depends on the reason for your termination.

Legitimate reasons you could get fired after a work injury include:

  • Your employer could not make accommodations that were required by your injury, such as by providing equipment or changing working conditions.
  • No alternate or light-duty work is available that fits your work restrictions.
  • Your job was eliminated or filled by someone else during your recovery.
  • You showed bad behavior, like continual tardiness, breaking company rules, or showing up intoxicated.

That said, some of these apply to situations where you are fired prior to getting any light duty work. If you were fired while on light duty, your employer may have eliminated your position for less legitimate reasons.

Examples of Wrongful Termination

Sometimes, employers claim they had a legitimate reason for firing an employee when the real reason is petty or vengeful. For instance, perhaps you were terminated because:

  • You reported an injury and filed a workers’ compensation claim.
  • Your injury and claim exposed company negligence.
  • You did not let your employer pressure you into returning to regular work before you were ready.
  • You were not actually provided promised accommodations, preventing you from doing your job.

If you were hurt at work, you have a right to report it and receive workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation generally prevents you from suing your employer for negligence, but your claim could still shed light on safety issues in your company. In that case, embarrassing the company by showcasing its carelessness is not a legitimate reason to fire you.

Additionally, an employer can’t punish, threaten, or fire you for following doctor’s orders and accepting only appropriate light duty work. For instance, in California, the Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Guidebook for Injured Workers specifically cites this as a potential violation of California Labor Code section 132a. Furthermore, employers should provide you with the light duty work they promised; if their failure to provide accommodations affects your performance, you should not get fired.

Determining if your termination was legitimate can make the difference in what you do next. If you suspect your employer was dishonest or unfair, you can protect yourself by partnering with our law firm.

Collect Evidence of Why You Were Fired While on Light Duty

Workers’ compensation cases require a great deal of evidence to begin with. You can also use that evidence in the event of an unexpected firing. For instance:

  • Medical records, doctor testimony, and treatment notes can help show what light duty work you were permitted to do, how your injury affected you, and how your employer failed to accommodate your condition.
  • Employment and company records can verify if your employer really offered you light duty you could do, eliminated your position, or reported you for bad behavior prior to your firing.
  • Testimony from coworkers and other employees can help expose if the reason for your termination was unlawful or unfair.

In other words, gather evidence that provides background and context for your firing. Our law firm can investigate to potentially expose an employer for wrongful termination.

Know Your Rights to Work Injury Compensation After Getting Fired

Regardless of whether you were fired lawfully or not, you can still continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In fact, you can voluntarily change jobs while on workers’ compensation. Your coverage is based on how long you need to recover from your injuries, not on how long you are employed in the same place where you were injured. The only exception is if you were fired for bad behavior.

You Can Access Wage Benefits

Returning to light duty work naturally means you don’t receive the same lost income benefits from when you couldn’t work at all. However, if you were fired after a work injury, your workers’ compensation coverage should provide you lost income benefits again. Our firm can help you file to restart these benefits following a termination.

Talk to a Work Injury Lawyer if You Were Fired While on Light Duty

You don’t need a specific reason to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer after an on-the-job injury. You can hire one even if you don’t anticipate pushback from your employer or the liable insurance company.

Our attorneys can:

  • Investigate the cause of your firing
  • Gather evidence of injuries, employment, and wrongful termination
  • Help you access workers’ comp benefits after getting fired
  • Clarify any legal language or requirements you need to follow
  • Ensure you receive the care, rehabilitation, and income you deserve
  • Represent you in matters relating to your case
  • Navigate the remainder of the claims process

You Could File a Lawsuit for Getting Fired After a Work Injury

In some cases, you can sue an employer for wrongful termination after getting fired. Our employment law attorneys can determine if your case includes issues like discrimination or retaliation. We can help you recover damages like lost income and various out-of-pocket expenses. Some cases can even result in you getting your job back.

Call KJT Law Group for More on What to Do After Getting Fired While Injured

The team at KJT Law Group provides free consultations to injured victims like you who are seeking answers. We can explain your rights, review the facts of your case, and plan a path to obtaining the benefits or damages you deserve. Call today at (818) 507-8525 to get started.

We Will Fight For You

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