Retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim

Can your employer fire you when you get injured on the job?

If your employer carries Texas Worker’s Compensation the Texas Labor Code States:

A person may not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee because the employee has:

(1) filed a workers’ compensation claim in good faith;

(2) hired a lawyer to represent the employee in a claim;

(3) instituted or caused to be instituted in good faith a proceeding under Subtitle A; or

(4) testified or is about to testify in a proceeding under Subtitle A.

While this law seems fairly straight forward, (an employee can’t be fired for filing a worker’s compensation claim), unfortunately recent Supreme Court cases have watered down the effectiveness of this basic and fair law. For example, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that most employees who work for government agencies cannot sue their employers under this law even if their employer admits that they fired the employee because he or she filed a workers’ compensation claim (shocking but true). The Texas Supreme Court has also held that employers who have their own injury benefit plans or who simply don’t carry Texas Workers’ compensation cannot be sued under this law even if they admit that they fired you because you filed a claim or hired a lawyer to help you.

However, there are other laws that can protect you if you are injured on or off the job if you are retaliated against or fired. For example, you may be able to sue under the American’s with Disabilities Act (disability is defined very broadly and can include things such a back strain or carpal tunnel syndrome). Also, you may be entitled to time off to heal from an injury or illness under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) without fear of losing your job or position. Or, if your employer has their own injury benefit plan or do not carry any workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able sue your employer for negligence in causing your injuries. If you live in El Paso, Texas or Las Cruces, New Mexico It is important to see an experience employment lawyer if you are injured on or off the job and you are retaliated against or fired by your employer.

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