Collecting workers’ compensation is supposed to take place in a no-fault system. That means if you’re hurt on the job, it doesn’t matter whose fault the injury was—you’re entitled to have your medical bills covered, and collect weekly benefits, if needed, to cover your lost wages while you recover. Unfortunately, all too many employers forget that. They grow bitter and resentful of employees who file workers’ compensation claims, and they get hostile after the fact.
They might make your life so miserable at work in retribution that you feel the need to quit. They might even threaten to fire you if you don’t quit. Learn why employers cannot force you to quit your job after a work injury and what you can do if it happens, including hiring a workers’ compensation attorney.
Why Employers Do This
There are a number of reasons why an employer might create a hostile or threatening work environment following a worker’s compensation claim. All of them come down to money. They think by getting you to quit, they won’t have to pay workers’ compensation, and if you willingly leave your job, they won’t have to pay unemployment. Thus, by getting you to resign, they save a ton of money.
This process, legally speaking, is referred to as constructive discharge. It’s dishonest and in the vast majority of situations, it’s the same thing as being fired.
Is Forced Termination Legal?
Like most workers, you might wonder if it’s legal for an employer to force you to quit after you suffer an injury. The answer is, no, it’s not, and you may be entitled to compensation if it happens to you.
It’s true that if you voluntarily leave your job, you generally cannot collect unemployment benefits. However, under the law, forced resignation is exactly the same thing as being fired. This means if your employer creates a hostile work environment where you have no choice but to quit, or they issue you a “quit or be fired” ultimatum, you’ve been fired in a legal sense.
Regarding workers’ compensation, if you’re hurt at work you have the right to collect these benefits, whether or not you’re fired and your employer cannot deny you this right. If they do, you may have a legal case against them for wrongful termination.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you’re facing this kind of circumstance where you feel trapped and with no options, be assured there are steps you can take. First, never be afraid to file a workers’ compensation claim. This is your right, and you are entitled to collect payment for your injuries. Likewise, if you’ve been issued a “quit or be fired” ultimatum, you have rights that must be protected.
At Lewis & Keller, we have decades of experience in protecting the rights of North Carolina workers who have been wronged by their employers. We are ready to stand up and get you the benefits you deserve, be it unemployment, workers’ compensation and all of your rights. You may even be entitled to benefits such as emotional damage and pain and suffering for what you’ve been put through. Contact us for more information today!