Can My Employer Fire Me for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The short answer is no, but it is not that simple. You may have heard that South Carolina is an “at will” employment state. This means that in most situations, an employer can discharge an employee for any reason – or for no reason at all.
However, according to § 41-1-80 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, it is illegal for an employer to “discharge or demote” an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This law not only protects injured workers from financial hardship, but it also encourages safer working environments by making employees feel comfortable reporting injuries. Some bad apple employers will fire an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim, but they do so at their own risk.
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Depending on the facts surrounding your case, if your employer fires you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, then you can file a lawsuit against your employer for lost wages and benefits, attorneys’ fees, emotional distress and other damages. This is called a retaliatory discharge lawsuit.
Situations When a Retaliatory Discharge Lawsuit May Not Be Successful
A lawsuit against an employer for retaliatory discharge or demotion may not be successful if the employer can prove that the employee:
Was willfully or habitually tardy or absent from work;
Was intoxicated or disorderly at work;
Destroyed the employer’s property;
Failed to meet established work standards;
Committed larceny or embezzlement of the employer’s property; or
Violated written company policies for which discharge or demotion is a stated consequence of the violation.
It is not uncommon for employers to claim they are firing a worker for one of these reasons, when in reality the discharge is retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you were fired or demoted after filing for workers’ compensation, turn to Hammack Law Firm.
Paul Hammack has seen firsthand just how heartless employers can be. He takes a personal approach to every case he handles, and he will tirelessly fight for the compensation and justice that you deserve.
Paul Hammack will also try to restore your employment or fight for fair compensation if that is not possbile. Call 864-326-3333 today to schedule a free consultation with a Greenville accident lawyer.
What Does “Maximum Medical Improvement” (MMI) Mean?
According to Title 42, Chapter 9 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, an employer may request a hearing “to address the termination of temporary disability payments” when an employee has reached maximum medical improvement. MMI is a point when it is unlikely that a patient will further recover from his or her injuries. The hearing will take place within 60 days of the employer’s request.
After an employee reaches MMI, the employer can evaluate the employee’s work restrictions and must attempt to accommodate those restrictions within reason. Although it is not always possible for an injured employee to return to his or her former duties, the employer is required to make accommodations to facilitate this return if it is reasonably possible.
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