Can I Be Fired for filing a Maryland Workers Compensation Claim?
Maryland Criminal 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. If you can prove that your employer fired you specifically for filing the claim only, then you may have a right to file criminal charges, This claim must be brought to the attention of the court commissioner or states attorney located at the court house closest to where your place of employment is located. However, it will be extremely difficult for the employee to persuade the State Attorney to do anything as few are aware of this law and most do not want to get involved. Proof would have to be as obvious as the employer fired you the day after he receive notification that you filed a Maryland Workers Compensation claim.
If you can prove you were fired for filing a Maryland workers Compensation claim, you may be entitled to file a civil law suit against your employer for wrongful termination based upon the theory that it is against public policy to fire someone for claiming rights they are entitled to under Maryland law. Again, proof would have to be as obvious as the employer fired you the day after he receive notification that you filed a Maryland Workers Compensation claim.
If an employer needs to replace an injured employee because the employees job is essential and the employer need someone to do the work, the employer does have the right to replace the employee and that may result in the employees’ job being not available when the employee returns back to work. Under these circumstances no criminal or civil remedy will exist.
If your employer does replace you and you are permanently no longer able to do the job due to a work- related injury, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation. If eligible for vocational rehabilitation your employers insurance company will have to help you find a new career and pay you during the process.
If you are able to physically do your old job, but the employer replaced you, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Avoiding Job Loss
In order to avoid job loss when injured on the job it is essential that the employee keep the employer informed on treatment status and return to work status. Frequent contact with your employer is the key. If your employer never hears from you, they may assume you are not coming back to work and look for someone else. Remember that your employer hired you for a reason. The reason is because they need you. When you are out, the need still remains and the work still needs to be done. Keep this in mind and try to go back to work as soon as it is physically possible. The longer you are out of work the more likely it is that you will be replaced.
For more info on Workers Comp in Maryland, CLICK HERE.