Getting Benefits After Being Fired?
After sustaining injuries at a North Carolina workplace, a worker’s immediate concern is to get the best treatment and therapy for a rapid recovery. If the injuries are serious and recovery takes time, an injured worker will have additional worries mostly centered on the safety of his or her job: Will my job still be there when I come back? Will I be able to handle my work as before? Who is doing my work now? Are they looking for someone to replace me? The injured employee’s main worry is:
Can they fire me after a work accident?
An employer cannot fire you as a direct consequence of your accident, because this would be construed as retaliation. It is however possible for your employer to terminate your employment and to replace you with a newly hired employee, if they were informed that you will not be able to return to your previous function. Most employers, if the injured worker is able to work with restrictions, will try to find a position that would accommodate the partially disabled worker, but that is not always possible.
If I am fired, am I still entitled to benefits?
If you are still under restrictions from a doctor due to your work injury and you are either unable to work or you have trouble finding work, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, no matter why you were terminated.
If you are not under a doctor’s restrictions and the only reason why you are not working or unable to get a job is that you were fired for misconduct, you are unlikely to be entitled to benefits. In other words, misconduct, not the fact that you were fired, is the reason why your benefits are cancelled.
If your employer fires you for misconduct after a work accident, they will have to prove three things:
- You were terminated for misconduct
- The same type of misconduct would have gotten anyone fired, even if they were not under restrictions, and
- The termination had nothing to do with your workplace injury.
You may even keep your benefits if you can prove that your incapacity to find work is the result of your injuries and physical restrictions.
If you have been the victim of a North Carolina workplace accident, contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us toll-free 888-694-1671, or send us an e-mail for a FREE, no commitment discussion of your case.