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Can I get laid off while on workmans comp? If so is my workmans comp case closed?

Baltimore, MD |

The company work load is slow and they are talking lay offs in the next 2 weeks

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You ask very good questions regarding your workers compensation case. Maryland law prohibits employers from terminating employees because they have filed a workers' compensation claim. However, this does not prevent them from laying off employees for other circumstances. For instance, if your doctor has taken you off work pending surgery in one month and they need to replace your position because they'll go under if they don't have any person working in your position.

    The good news is that your worker's compensation claim does not terminate even though your employment may. The fact is that you were injured on your job, arising out of employment and whatever happens with your employer thereafter does not jeopardize the validity of your claim.

    Also something to keep in mind is vocational rehabilitation or job placement services. Depending on your injury, you may not be able to return to work in the same capacity that you once were. A good worker's compensation attorney can guide you through this difficult process. Hang in there.

    I am not an Arizona barred attorney and encourage you to seek legal counsel and help from someone who is in your jurisdiction. I have answered your question from a general perspective and what has been my typical experience regarding workers' compensation benefits. Please be advised, I am not your attorney and I urge you to find representation for yourself as soon as possible.


  2. Generally the answer to this question is "yes" you can be fired or laid off while receiving workers' compensation benefits. However, your job termination does not eliminate your employer's obligations to you under the worker's compensation claim.

    Workers' compensation rules vary from state to state and you should seek experienced counsel in your state for advice relating to your particular case. I practice in Georgia, and under the law here, an employee can be fired for any reason as long as that reason is not illegal (i.e. because of race, sex, national origin, etc.). Employers can fire an employee who is out because of a compensable workers' compensation injury.

    Interestingly I find that my clients' case is often helped if my client is fired or laid off. Why? Because termination of employment takes away one of the insurance company's strategies, which has to do with making a "light duty" job available for my client. If my client has been terminated, the insurance company cannot cut off benefits until the doctor issues a full duty release. If my client has not been terminated and is still employed, his benefits can be cut off if the employer/insurer makes a light duty job available.

    In any case, your employer and its insurer cannot get rid of your claim by firing you.


  3. I also agree with the above comments. A termination of employment can also mean the loss of such things as health insurance benefits. However, as Ms. Ginsburg says, the termination of employment can help your WC claim since the insurer can no longer place you in a light duty job back with that employer. Often if you are placed back with the pre-injury employer that employer will give you a "make work" job that is not a real job. The employer will only give you that job to get you off WC. The employer will often "resent" the fact you cannot do your regular work. The employer may even try to make your life miserable hoping you will quit and thus forfeit your WC benefits.

    This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice. This information is not meant and should not be construed to be the formation of an attorney client relationship. I practice Virginia Workers compensation law and Social Security Disability law.

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