Can my employer fire me while I am receiving workers’ compensation benefits?

While there is nothing in the Workers' Compensation Act that forbids employers from firing employees who are out of work due to work injuries, there may be remedies under other federal and state statutes. Some of those laws are the following:

1. The common law of wrongful discharge. If your employment is terminated because you filed a workers' compensation claim, you may have the right to pursue a wrongful discharge lawsuit.

2. Collective bargaining agreements. If you are a union member, your collective bargaining unit may contain provisions that limit your employer's right to terminate you.

3. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA is a federal statute that grants you the right to 12 weeks of unpaid leave time per year if you are suffering from a serious medical condition. This protection is available only if you have worked a sufficient number of hours in the year preceding the first day of leave.

4. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a federal statute that prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with permanent disabilities, regardless of whether the impairment arose from a work-related or non-work-related event. The ADA imposes on employers the obligation to make reasonable accommodations provided the person can perform the essential functions of the job.