One of the things that drivers fear most about filing a worker’s compensation claim is that they are going to make their employer angry and they are going to get fired.
I would never tell anyone that they should never be concerned about that, but it is a fear which is often overblown.
Here’s the deal: Illinois is an employment at-will state which means that you can be fired for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all, as long as it is not being done on a discriminatory basis and the discharge does not violate public policy. The Illinois Supreme Court has declared that firing an employee for asserting his/her rights violates public policy. That means that you can sue your employer for firing you in retaliation for filing a worker’s compensation case.
The fact that they can be sued for firing you for filing a worker’s compensation case means that once you file a worker’s compensation case, your employer and their insurance company will have to be very careful about how your employment status is handled. Because they know that firing you after you file a worker’s compensation case opens the door to getting sued, there is a reasonable chance that they won’t. Of course, these decisions are made by human beings ….
The fact that you had an on-the-job injury and are making a worker’s compensation case doesn’t mean that you can’t be discharged for other reasons, like having an at-fault accident, violating a safety rule, or failing a drug test. However, those are reasons that exist independent of whether or not you file a worker’s compensation case or not, and in some respects, having filed a worker’s compensation case may protect you against an otherwise justifiable dismissal.
Note: employment law is a matter of state law, and if your place of employment is outside of Illinois, this Tip may not apply.
We hope this Tip has been helpful information. If you suffered an on-the-job injury and would like to learn more about what your options are, please complete this form [link to intake form], and we will be in touch with you promptly. Please feel free to share this Tip with anyone who you think would benefit from this. We strongly believe that knowledge is power, and the more information someone has about the rights and options after an on-the-job injury, the better things will be for them.