Last Updated: 3/16/2023
Lots of workers wonder, “Can I get fired for filing workers' compensation after being hurt on the job in Iowa?” The answer is yes because in Iowa most employees are employees at will. The employer may not come out and say that is the reason but, if you are fired after your work injury, you may have a claim for wrongful discharge and should promptly contact an attorney as the time limits for filing a complaint can be short. While the right to file for workers' compensation is an action protected by Iowa law, sometimes a worker’s employer may retaliate. If you’re an employee who filed a claim for workers’ compensation in Iowa and are worried that your employer may react negatively, here’s what you need to know.
Workers’ Rights Under Workers’ Compensation
Workers compensation is designed as a contract between an employer and his or her employees that stipulates that by providing workers’ compensation insurance for job-related injuries and diseases, the employee will forego his or her right to civil action against the employer.
In Iowa, workers’ compensation laws provide medical and disability benefits to workers who are injured or harmed on the job. According to the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation, the majority of employees who are injured while working are covered.
Employer Retaliation for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
While the laws in Iowa clearly state that an injured worker has a right to file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits, some employers may retaliate against the employee for doing so. Examples of retaliation may include giving the employee a poor performance review, taking a negative action against the employee or even firing the employee. So you can get fired for filing for workers' compensation; however, all of these forms of retaliation are against the law.
What is At Will Employment?
If you an At Will Employee it means you can be terminated or dismissed by an employer for any reason as long as it is not illegal. This means they do not have to establish a just cause for the termination. That is why they may tell you that your termination wasn't related to your workers' comp claim even if it was.
Iowa Law and Wrongful Discharge
LawforChange.org provides a review of Iowa’s wrongful termination laws, which stipulate that if a worker is retaliated against for doing something that is protected by existing public policy (like filing a workers’ compensation claim for benefits), then wrongful termination has occurred. As such, the employee has the right to file a claim for wrongful discharge in an Iowa court. If an employer fires an employee, the act must have occurred for the employee's actions that are not protected by state or federal law.
Contact a Work Injury Attorney in Iowa Today
If you’ve filed a claim for workers’ compensation following a workplace injury and your claim has been denied or if your employer has retaliated against you for doing so, you may need legal help. At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our personal injury attorneys are ready to sit down and provide you with a free consultation regarding your case today. Schedule your consultation now by calling us today at 888-425-9886 or by contacting us online.