Can I be fired while being treated for my workers compensation case?
Yes. In the state of Mississippi, your employer can fire you while you are being treated for your workers’ compensation case. Mississippi is an “at-will employment” state, which means that you can be fired for any reason. In other words, you can be fired for misconduct or because the employer doesn’t like the color of your shoes. You can even be fired for the mere fact that you made a workers compensation claim. It is not fair. But it is the law. Our firm and many others have done their best, year after year, to get the legislature to change the law and make it illegal to fire someone just because they made a workers’ compensation claim. But so far, the legislature is not listening. They don’t want to hear from a bunch of lawyers who make their living from the system. They want to hear from you who are casting the votes. If you don’t know who your legislator is, please call our office at 601-948-8005 and give us your address and we will be glad to tell you and give you their contact information so you can let them know you don’t think it is right that you can be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim especially if the employer was at fault in causing the injury by not having a safe work place.
The good news is that under the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation laws, when a person is fired after an injury at work, the law presumes that they were fired because of their injury. That means that the Judge will see through any reason they give for firing you and instead, presume that you were fired because you were hurt and could not work the same way you used to. This presumption can be rebutted by your employer if they have proof of misconduct that warranted termination, but your attorney will make sure the Judge hears your side of the story. If the Judge decides that you were fired because of your injury, your attorney can usually negotiate a better settlement for you. The fact that this presumption structure exists will affect the value of your case because it impacts how the Judge determines what your loss of wage earning capacity will be or how much loss of functionality you have endured.
You may also file a federal claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against your employer if you can prove the termination was based on Race, Gender, Age, Religion, Nationality, and Disability if you have been discriminated against on that basis, but the work injury claim alone is a perfectly legal reason to fire someone.
If you have been hurt and you are worried about losing your job, contact an attorney and get armed with information BEFORE you get fired. Don’t wait until things are bad before you find out what your rights are. Go to our website at http://www.cglawms.com or call us at 601-948-8005