Can I be fired for filing a workers compensation claim?
The law says an employer can not fire someone for filing a workers compensation claim.In reality, if an employer wants to get rid of you badly enough, he will still fire you and probably get away with it.
Maryland Law provides that it is actually a criminal offense to fire someone for filing a workers’ compensation claim, subject to one year in jail and One Thousand Dollar ($1,000.00) fine. However, As far as I know, no states attorney has ever filed charges against an employer for firing an employee for filing a workers compensation claim. When I first started practicing law, i sent a client over to the States attorney to see if they would press charges and the states attorney did not know what he was talking about. I then sent the client back to the states attorney with a copy of the law and they still refused to prosecute.
One employee filed a civil suit against the employer for firing him for filing a workers compensation claim.You would think the appeals court would see the light. The appeals court ruled, however, if an employer needs to replace you because your job is essential and they need someone to do the work, they do have the right to replace you and that may result in your job being not available when you return back to work. If they do replace you, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation as part of your workers compensation case if you can prove you will never be able to do your old job due to your work related injuries.
Employers get around the criminal law by finding other reasons to fire you after you are injured on the job. If you were fired the day the employer found out you actually filed the claim perhaps someone would prosecute them. The employer is usually smart enough to wait and come up with another excuse.Because the law says firing for filing the claim, an employer firing you because you were injured on the job , but before you file the claim would probably not qualify.
If you can prove that they fired you specifically for filing the claim only, then you may have a right to file criminal charges, as well as a possible civil suit. For CLICK HERE for more on Workers Compensation.