Can You Be Fired From Your Job After a Personal Injury?
Injury clients often ask us, can I be fired after a personal injury accident? Generally, the answer is yes, you can be fired after a personal injury, because I was an employee at will state. However, keep in mind a few things. Number one, you may be protected by the FMLA Family Medical Leave Act, which allows up to 12 weeks of leave per year for a personal medical condition, or to assist with a medical condition of a close family member. You should check with your employer if you qualify for the FMLA act. Keep in mind that unless you have a short term disability policy, sick pay or vacation time, when you are on FMLA leave, you are usually not going to be paid. Number two, if you're a union member, and are part of the collective bargaining agreement, then your employer will usually have to follow a process in order to fire you. If they fire you, then you should immediately contact your union representative and file a grievance through your union. Number three, whether you are a union member or not, if you are fired after an injury, you may have a separate employment law claim for wrongful discharge. For example, it is against the law for your employer to fire you because of your age, race, gender, religion, violation of the FMLA if you are considered disabled under the ADA, which is the Americans with Disabilities Act and other items. This does not mean they cannot fire you, but it does mean that you may have another potential case for wrongful discharge. If you think you have been wrongfully discharged, then there are very strict time guidelines, usually only 300 days from your termination or other adverse employment action to file a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, or the EEOC, which is the federal equivalent of that. If you fail to follow the proper time guidelines and procedures, your employment law claim may be forever barred. If you have been fired after an injury, you should give us a call to see if we can assist you with an employment law claim. Number four, if you are fired, you may also be eligible for unemployment benefits. But keep in mind that you will have to be ready, willing and able to work in order to qualify for benefits. You are also required to do at least two job searches per week. We help our clients both with their personal injury and unemployment law claims and we'd be happy to discuss your matter with you.