Have I been wrongfully discharged after getting hurt on the job?
Twenty years ago, the Alabama Legislature gave a gift to the injured workers of this state in the form of a cause of action for Retaliatory Discharge. That cause of action now codified at §25-5-11.1 (Code of Alabama) states:
“No employee shall be terminated by an employer solely because the employee has instituted or maintained any action against the employer to recover worker’s compensation benefits under this chapter or solely because the employee has filed a written notice of violation of a safety rule pursuant Subdivision (c) (4) of §25-5-11.”
How Do I Know That I’ve Been Fired for Getting Hurt On The Job?
Typically, if your employer makes up a reason to fire you after you have been hurt on the job, then that is indication they are retaliating against you. Compare how they treated you before you were hurt versus how they treat you after you have made a worker’s compensation claim.
Why Would My Company Do This?
It all comes down to money. You must be able to show that the company was motivated by financial concerns over the rights and safety of its employees. Of course, worker’s compensation premiums go up with the number of claims. Therefore, an employer has a strong motivation to keep claims as low as possible..
What to Watch Out For?
If you apply for Unemployment Compensation, do not give the Department of Labor the reason your former employer gave you for the termination. Remember, your employer will not come out and say that you’ve been fired for filing a worker’s comp claim. They will make up a reason and if you give this made up reason to the unemployment office you may be stuck with it and it could easily defeat a retaliatory discharge claim. Your best bet is to consult a lawyer before you file for Unemployment Compensation.
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