No one intends to go to work and get hurt, but injuries can happen in the workplace, and having a way to protect yourself and your family while you recover is important.
But what if you lose your job? If you think you are going to get fired – or if you have been fired – you can still collect workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois. You are entitled to have 100% of your related medical expenses covered, and you can still collect weekly wage replacement benefits (about 2/3 your average weekly wage). If you have been deemed unable to perform the work you used to do because of your injury, you can also receive vocational training benefits.
Can an employer fire an employee who is receiving workers’ compensation?
Before you start worrying about losing your benefits, you need to understand the rules surrounding employees, the workers’ compensation benefits you receive, and the possibility of losing your job. Illinois is an at-will employment state, meaning you can be terminated at any time even without reason or cause. Thus, you can still be fired from your job even if you are collecting workers’ compensation.
However, you cannot be fired for filing for workers’ compensation. In short, if your employer needed to let you go because the company was too small to operate without you, or if you weren’t great at your job, you can be fired – but you can’t be let go because you got hurt at work and filed for benefits.
Is there any way to prevent an employer from firing an employee?
Not if the cause of your termination is unrelated to your filing.
I think I was fired because I filed for workers’ comp. What can I do?
Under Illinois law, it is illegal to retaliate against an injured employee who files for workers’ compensation benefits. It is also illegal for your boss to threaten to fire you to keep you from filing the claim, because you are entitled to those benefits if you get hurt.
If this is the case, you can file a lawsuit claiming retaliation. In order to be successful, though, you would need to prove that you were entitled to the benefits, that claiming those benefits falls under the grounds of a protected activity, and that your employer was motivated to terminate you because you engaged in a protected activity.
This last bit is the hardest to prove, which is why you need a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer on your side. If your claim for benefits was initially denied and you were fired, you can still claim retaliation, but it’s much harder to do so. Getting the right Chicago work injury lawyer to fight for you is a critical part of the process.
Concerned about your workers’ compensation benefits if you’ve been fired? If you are looking for legal guidance and support on the matter, our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers are ready to help you. Gainsberg Law is proud to represent injured workers throughout the state. Please call 312-600-9585 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Neal S. Gainsberg has spent the last 20 years fighting to protect the rights of the injured in Chicago and throughout Illinois. From consumer rights and bankruptcy to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, Mr. Gainsberg stands up to large corporations, insurance companies, creditors and hospital administrators to ensure that his clients’ futures are safe and secure. Learn More