It’s a frighteningly common story: someone gets hurt at work, be it a trip and fall or for any other reason, and files for workers’ compensation. After that, their employer becomes hostile, making their life miserable in an attempt to make them quit, or actively requests that they resign or else they’ll be let go.
This can be a scary situation to deal with. You know if you quit you can’t get unemployment, and you need that workers’ comp to make ends meet. You don’t think you did anything wrong and wonder if you have any recourse. The truth is, you do. Learn why you cannot be forced to quit due to a work injury, and how you can hold your employer responsible with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney.
Workers’ Compensation and Work Injury
In these cases, there’s an important element of workers’ compensation law that you need to remember: workers’ comp is a no-fault system. That means that it protects you from an injury you suffer at work, without any considerations of whose fault it was whatsoever. This means that you can’t be denied coverage based on it being your fault, nor can your employer issue consequences against you for collecting workers’ comp.
Workers’ Comp and Firing
Some companies think that by firing an employee that saves them money and lets them off the hook for providing workers’ comp. This is simply not so. In fact, if they fire you to avoid paying a workers’ comp claim for your work injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them for wrongful termination.
Forced Resignation Is Firing
It’s true that if you quit a job, you forfeit your rights to unemployment. Some employers, as a result, might think they’re being clever by forcing you to quit rather than firing you. They think that if you quit, that frees them from responsibility while also saving them from paying out unemployment.
Once more, they should think again. While it’s true that quitting voluntarily forfeits your unemployment benefits, under the law, forced resignation is the same thing as being fired. That means that you can collect unemployment if you’re forced to resign against your will, you still may have the right to workers’ comp benefits, and you might be able to file suit for wrongful termination.
Talking to an Attorney
If your employer has made your life at work so miserable you had no choice but to quit, or if they’ve issued a “quit or be fired” ultimatum, you should immediately talk to a qualified workers’ compensation or employment lawyer. Attorneys know how to negotiate severance packages that can make the departure easier, or can help you file suit for wrongful termination to protect your rights as a worker.
At Heuser & Heuser, we’ve spent years protecting the rights of employees in need of help with workers’ comp or employment laws, and we can help you as well. If you find yourself in a hostile work environment situation, please give us a call today or complete our online contact form. Let’s talk about your case for free, with no obligation.