Many workplace injuries occur in Texas every day. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, there were 2 nonfatal injuries/illnesses in Texas per 100 full-time workers in 2018.
When a worker is injured performing their job duties, they may be out of work for a period of time while they heal. To make up for these lost wages and related medical expenses, injured workers can receive workers’ compensation benefits.
But, what happens if your employer fires you before you get a chance to file a claim? Can they legally terminate you as an employee just because you sustained a work injury?
Injured Workers and Termination Laws
According to Section 411.082 of the Texas Labor Code, a person cannot discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee for any one of the following:
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in good faith
Hiring an attorney for legal representation
instituted or caused to be instituted in good faith a (workers compensation) proceeding; or
Testified or is about to testify in a (workers compensation) proceeding
An employer who violates this law can be held liable for further damages caused by the violation. In addition, the employee who was unlawfully terminated is entitled to be reinstated to their former position.
While many states require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance, Texas does not. If a worker is injured and their employer does not have this insurance, then they may file a personal injury claim.
Restricted Work and Disability Protection
You may be cleared to go back to work with some medical restrictions. If you experienced a pay cut between your old job duties and new restricted work, you may be receiving partial income benefits.
If you are fired at this point, your benefits stop. Therefore, your employer may look for any reason to terminate you while you are still working and recovering.
Now, Texas is at “at-will” employment state, meaning that your employer can fire you for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. But, Texas law and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does protect workers with disabilities from discrimination or termination based on the fact.
Therefore, your employer cannot terminate you because your disability has affected your work and you are on restricted duty because of a medical condition. Employers are also responsible for making reasonable accommodations for workers with certain restrictions.
Contact a Corpus Christi Workers’ Comp Attorney
If you were terminated after a work injury, you need legal representation immediately. Your employer may try to claim that you were fired for a justifiable reason, like poor performance. Our attorneys will investigate the matter and look at a few different angles to determine what happened, such as:
Did they give you any warnings before firing you?
What reasons did they give for your termination?
What sort of feedback have you received?
Who witnessed your work injury?
Is there any camera evidence of the incident?
Who did you report your injury to?
Were you consistently on time to your shifts?
Since 1962, The Edwards Law Firm has been helping those injured in Corpus Christi successfully obtain the compensation they need to heal. We have built a reputation on trust, compassion, and effective representation and continue our practice on those principles
Whatever the situation of your work injury, we are here to stand in your corner and fight for your financial recovery during these difficult times.
Do you want to learn more about your legal rights and options? Contact The Edwards Law Firm at (361) 541-6333 to set up your free consultation.