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There are no protections in place that require employers to keep an injured workers’ position open while he or she recovers from a work-related injury. That said, there are protections in place that prohibit employers from firing injured parties simply because they filed a workers’ compensation claim. If you suspect that your employer fired you because you exercised your rights to benefits, you may have a tough time proving your employer’s motivation.
However, with the right Georgia workers’ compensation attorney on your side, you may be able to prevail in a wrongful termination claim against your employer.
First and foremost, it is important to establish that employment in Georgia, just as with employment across the nation, is at-will. What this means is that employers are free to hire and fire individuals as they see fit and without any real reason.
That said, there are a number of reasons for which your employer CANNOT fire you, each of which is listed on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website. If your employer fires you for any of the reasons listed on the EEOC’s website, he or she may be sued for wrongful termination or even discrimination. In addition to a person’s gender, national origin, sex, age, or disability, an employer cannot base a termination decision off of retaliation. Firing a person because he or she filed a workers’ compensation claim is considered retaliation and is therefore illegal.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove that retaliation was the motivation behind your employer’s decision. Unless your employer outright stated that he or she let you go because you filed a claim, he or she could claim that you were let go because of underperformance, inability to perform your job functions, or simply that your position had been filled while you were recovering, none of which are illegal reasons for firing a person.
If you suspect that you were let go because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, it is imperative that you consult with a Georgia lawyer right away regarding your suspicions. If you are correct, and if there is ample evidence to prove so, your employer may be forced to compensate you for wrongful termination. More importantly, he or she may be dissuaded from committing wrongful termination in the future.
There are a few things you should pay attention to when deciding whether you were discriminated against:
If you can demonstrate that you were the victim of wrongful termination, you may be able to recover your position as well as any lost compensation. You may even be able to recover compensation for your troubles. That said, you should not attempt to pursue a wrongful termination claim on your own. If you suspect that you were let for unlawful reasons, contact the Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers at Christopher Simon Attorney At Law today to learn more about your rights.