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Will I Get To Keep My Job While On Workers’ Compensation?

workerscomp

One of the major questions that many who are out on workers’ compensation ask is whether or not they will have a job to go back to once their work injury has healed. While the answer varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, some things are fairly universal in terms of payments that will still be due to the worker. Consulting your attorney on the matter is generally a good idea.

Florida Regulations

If your injury requires that you be off duty or stuck on light duty for a long period of time, you are entitled to take this time under the relevant Florida statutes, up to 104 weeks or until the date of maximum medical improvement, whichever is sooner. However, your employer may seek to fill your position while you are restricted from performing the full functions of your job – there is no provision in the Florida workers’ compensation statutes that requires them to hold the position open for you while you recover. The law permits a business to focus on its bottom line, and most of the time, that bottom line is best served by hiring an employee who is uninjured.

While you may be terminated while out on leave as long as it is not for an illegal reason, you will still receive wage loss payments from that employer’s insurer in all but the most unusual circumstances. (If you are terminated while on light duty, the situation may get more complex, and the rules arrived at will be largely specific to that particular case).  It is important to keep in mind that while you are unemployed, you may not receive unemployment if you are injured or disabled, as the law mandates that you must be actively engaged in looking for work.

Retaliatory Termination?

You may be terminated while out on workers’ compensation under Florida law, as there is no law which bars the practice. However, it is still impermissible to terminate you as any kind of retaliatory action. If a worker is injured on the job, they have the right to file for workers’ compensation, without any kind of repercussions from their employer forthcoming. Florida law is extremely explicit in this regard, with the entirety of the relevant statute stating that “No employer shall discharge … or coerce any employee by reason of such employee’s valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Law.”

This statute gives an injured employee a cause of action under which they may be able to bring suit against their employer. However, state law requires that first you must file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), to see if the issue can be settled before having to resort to going to trial. Depending on the alleged nature of the violation, the FCHR may refer the matter to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to see if the EEOC’s often-superior resources can help reach a settlement. If none can be reached, you will likely receive what is referred to as a right-to-sue letter. This still does not mean bringing suit will be easy.

Contact An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney

It can be demoralizing to randomly lose your job, especially when you have worked hard for the good of one company. If you believe you lost it unfairly, however, there are attorneys who may be able to assist with that. The knowledgeable Orlando workers’ compensation attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group are happy to assist you. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

Resources:

archive.flsenate.gov/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0400-0499/0440/Sections/0440.02.html

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0440/Sections/0440.205.html

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