Employers sometimes retaliate when their employees file workers’ compensation claims, but this behavior isn’t legal. If your employer fires you for filing a workers’ comp claim in Connecticut, you may be able to take legal action.
Is it Legal for an Employer to Fire You After Filing Workers’ Comp?
If an employer fires you solely for filing a claim for workers’ compensation, they may be in violation of the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act. Connecticut workers have the right to file for workers’ comp benefits when they suffer from work-related injuries and illnesses. When employers interfere with these benefits or punish employees for seeking them, they may be acting illegally.
However, in most cases, an employer would not specify that they are firing an injured worker because of their workers’ comp claim. Instead, they may use another reason as an excuse for the termination.
Connecticut employers must have legitimate reasons for firing employees. If your employer cannot come up with an actual reason, you may consider that the termination could have been related to your workers’ compensation claim.
Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act
The Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act details the state laws around workers’ compensation, including which employers must carry workers’ comp insurance and how employers should approach the benefits process.
Section 31-290a of this act prohibits employers from retaliating against injured workers for filing workers’ comp claims. Wrongfully firing an employee is an example of retaliation.
Examples of Employer Retaliation
Other forms of retaliation are also illegal after an employee files a workers’ comp claim in Connecticut. A few examples include:
- Reprimanding the employee
- Giving a lower-than-warranted performance evaluation
- Verbally or physically abusing the employee
- Transferring the employee to a less-desirable position
- Negatively altering the employee’s work schedule or hours
- Refusing to reschedule the employee after they complete medical treatment
What to Do After a Wrongful Termination
If you believe your employer has wrongfully terminated you as retaliation against your workers’ comp claim, here are steps you can take to document the case:
You will need evidence of a potential wrongful termination, and any documentation you have can be helpful. First, make copies of any emails with your employer — especially messages discussing the workers’ comp claim or your termination. Collect and print these emails as soon as possible, before your work email gets shut down.
Also, gather any text messages, notes, letters, or other documents pertaining to your termination or your injury or illness. Your attorney can help you sort through these documents and determine what you can use as evidence.
Review the Termination Letter
Next, review the termination letter. Your employer should have stated a specific reason or reasons for your termination. Your attorney can help you refute the reasons in the event the employer retaliated against you.
If you did not receive a termination letter, request one. If your employer refuses to supply a written confirmation of your termination, you may use this refusal as a component of the information documenting the case.
File Complaints with the Appropriate Parties
Next, someone who is fired and believes it is retaliatory for filing a workers’ compensation claim should file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Connecticut Labor Board.
You may also want to file a complaint with a higher-up at your company (who is not the person who fired you). Your attorneys can help you determine whether this is an appropriate move and identify the right person to file the complaint with.
Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you navigate your workers’ compensation claim in Connecticut as well as potential wrongful termination. At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, we’ve helped numerous employees through workers’ compensation claims, employer retaliation, wrongful termination, and related matters. Call today at 203-753-7300 to request your free consultation.