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Can I Be Laid Off While on Workers Compensation?

May 10, 2020 Published in Workers' Compensation

The last thing anybody wants to have to worry about after sustaining an injury on the job is that they may be laid off. However, sometimes this does happen. It is important to understand whether or not someone who is on workers’ conversation can be laid off from their job. Understanding this dilemma requires looking at the balance between the rights of workers’ after they have been injured versus the rights of an employer.

Understanding workers’ compensation in Illinois

Nearly every employer In Illinois is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. In this state, the workers’ compensation system is considered “no-fault.” This means that an employee who is injured while performing work within the scope of their duties is entitled to receive coverage for their medical bills and a portion of their wages, regardless of who caused their injury. In most cases, an employer or workers’ compensation insurer cannot deny this coverage to an injured worker.

Can an employer terminate me if I’m on workers’ comp?

The answer to this question can be fairly complicated, and it depends on why the termination takes place. In Illinois, we live in what is considered an “at-will” state. This means that an employer can layoff or terminate anyone for just about any reason, so long as the reason for termination does not violate state or federal law (discrimination, harassment, retaliation, etc.). Just because an employee is receiving workers’ comp benefits does not give them complete protection from being laid off for other reasons.

However, an employer cannot layoff or fire somebody because they got injured on the job or are collecting workers’ comp benefits. This would be considered retaliation and would be an illegal reason to let an employee go.

Will you lose your benefits if you are laid off while on workers’ comp?

If an employee is laid off while they are still collecting workers’ compensation benefits, they will continue to collect the benefits until they reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). A doctor will be the one to make a determination of when MMI is reached. At this point, it will is likely that the employer who terminated the worker will discontinue workers’ comp benefit and thereby end the employee-employer relationship entirely.

It is important to realize that, until MMI is reached, the worker cannot be denied their rightful benefits for an injury they sustained while performing work within the scope of their duties.

Do you need a workers’ comp lawyer?

If you have been injured on the job but been laid off while collecting workers’ compensation benefits, you may need to speak to a Springfield workers’ comp attorney. At Kanoski Bresney, we have extensive experience handling work injury cases, and we understand the laws that are involved in these situations. We will evaluate your case and work to determine what your next steps should be moving forward. It can be incredibly difficult to determine whether or not an employee was laid off as a result of collecting workers’ comp benefits or for some other reason, and an attorney will need to do some investigation into the incident. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 866-438-2419.

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