Fired with eerily short notice after you got injured at work? Here’s what to do if you suspect your employer of firing you for getting injured at work.
It’s a nightmare scenario: you get hurt on the job. Then mysteriously, you get fired not long after the injury.
You can’t be fired for an on-the-job injury. Your employer would have to be insane for telling you that’s the reason for your termination. (This is often referred to as “retaliatory discharge”) That’s because it would be easy to sue them if they said that.
But it’s easy for your employer to get around it. They could say you’re not meeting performance expectations. They could claim the company is experiencing financial difficulties. As long as they don’t explicitly fire you for one of the legally protected reasons, they can fire you if you are an “at-will” employee.
To be an “at-will” employee means the employer is free to discharge you for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all.
In Texas, you are protected by a “public policy exception.” That means that if you are performing an action that complies with public policy, or refusing to perform an action that violates public policy, you can’t be fired. So if you warn OSHA repeatedly about safety violations your employer commits, you can’t be fired for that.
What You Can Do
So employers have a fair degree of freedom to end your employment at any time. But that doesn’t mean you’re helpless to do anything if you feel you were fired because you got injured at work.
Here’s what you can do:
- Gather all the Paper You Can That’s Related to Your Injury
This includes obvious documents like medical records, prescriptions, e-mails to your employer, proof of cell phone calls to your employer, or any workers’ comp claims.
But that could also include less obvious documents that reveal your employer’s attitudes about workplace injuries. For example, you may have an office newsletter, workplace evaluation, or other written exchanges about the injuries. Gather those documents too.
The minute you suspect your employer of taking any negative actions against you after you experienced a workplace injury, that’s the time to start talking to a personal injury lawyer. For starters, you only have 2 years following your date of injury to file a claim for compensation to cover your injuries.
And, a Dallas personal attorney can help you strategize specific methods to build your case against your employer. The longer you wait, the less credible you look, and the harder it is to recover the full compensation you deserve.
Personal injury lawyers charge nothing to listen to the facts of your case – or to take your injury claim on. You only pay when you win. So the worst that can happen is you find out you don’t have a case.