In the state of Kentucky, employees are entitled and encouraged to file a workers’ compensation claim if they get injured at or while performing work. However, many people are afraid that by filing a workers’ compensation claim they are hurting their career. Our Louisville workers’ compensation attorneys at Walker Wallace, PLC answer the question of whether or not you can be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Kentucky.
Protecting Your Rights as an Injured Worker
As we have mentioned in a previous post, almost any employee in the state of Kentucky is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits according to Chapter 342 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS). Unfortunately, however, employers may try to retaliate against their employees who file a workers’ comp claim by harassing, threatening, intimidating, or even firing the employee. Employer retaliation for a workers’ compensation claim is unjust and we aim to stop harassment while on workers’ comp by providing our clients with everything they need to know about accident injury benefits.
What Happens if I Get Fired While on Workers’ Compensation?
If your employer tries to fire you after you have already begun receiving workers comp benefits or you are fired after receiving a workers’ comp settlement, you may have a legal claim against them. This is because Kentucky has a “retaliatory discharge” law to protect workers.
Kentucky is an “employment at will” state, which means that an employer may fire an employee for any reason—in most circumstances. However, there are exceptions, one of which specifically protects employees from being fired as retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
KRS 342.197 states that “no employee shall be harassed, coerced, discharged, or discriminated against in any manner whatsoever for filing and pursuing a lawful claim under this chapter.”
To prove “retaliatory discharge” you must show evidence that your injury occurred at work by following these steps to file a workers’ compensation claim as well as that your termination was caused by your workers’ compensation claim and not misconduct on your part.
Can You Collect Workers’ Comp After Being Fired?
That depends. If you started to receive worker’s comp benefits before getting fired, you may be able to continue receiving them as long as you are still under a doctor’s orders not to work. However, this is only the case if you don’t get fired because of misconduct. As we noted above, firing an employee simply for filing a workers’ compensation claim is illegal—in that case, you can bring a lawsuit against your employer for wrongful termination.
You have a right to pursue a workers’ compensation claim if you get fired after injuring yourself, as long as you file within the two-year statute of limitations. Though if you were fired due to wrongdoing on your part, it may be tough to defend your claim.
Basically, if your employer had a valid reason to fire you, you may not be able to collect or claim workers’ compensation benefits. If you have been wrongfully terminated, however, you may be able to take legal action against your former employer.
How Walker Wallace Can Help
If you believe you were unjustly fired as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to fight back. An experienced Kentucky workers’ compensation lawyer can help you collect evidence that will prove you were wrongly terminated by your employer and will defend you in hearing or in court—whichever is necessary. Having a lawyer by your side will ensure you take all the right steps to justly prove your workers’ rights were violated.
Our Louisville workers’ compensation attorneys at Walker Wallace, PLC is here to help injured workers with filing workers’ compensation claims, appealing denied claims, and winning compensation for retaliatory discharge. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.