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Can You Be Fired While on Workers’ Comp in Florida?

Can You Be Fired While on Workers' Comp in Florida?

Imagine this: you’re recovering from an injury on the job, dealing with medical bills and lost income. Now, concerns about your job security add another layer of stress as you wonder, “can you be fired while on workers’ comp in Florida?”

The answer, like many legal situations, isn’t always straightforward. This blog breaks down the key details of workers’ compensation in Florida, explaining your rights and when termination might occur. Knowing your options is crucial during this challenging time. By understanding the legal landscape, you can approach this situation with confidence and clarity.

Have you been fired or are you concerned about being fired because you filed a workers’ comp claim? Call us at (866) 519-3831 to schedule your free consultation with a Fort Lauderdale workers’ comp lawyer to discuss your case. At Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, we are committed to going the extra mile.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation in Florida

Florida workers’ comp, overseen by the Florida Department of Financial Services, protects you financially and medically if you suffer a work-related injury or illness. It provides various benefits to eligible employees, including:

  • Medical coverage: Covers necessary medical care directly related to your work injury
  • Disability benefits: Compensates for lost wages if you’re temporarily unable to work due to your injury
  • Death benefits: Provides financial assistance to dependents of workers who die from work-related injuries or illnesses

For a more detailed explanation of benefits, read our blog “The Different Types Of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available To Injured Workers In Florida.”

Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation

To qualify for benefits, you must meet specific criteria:

  • Employment status: You must be an employee of a company with workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Work-related injury or illness: Your injury or illness must be a direct result of your job duties or workplace conditions.
  • Notification: You are required to report your injury to your employer within 30 days.

Who is covered?

  • Full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees

Who is excluded?

  • Some agricultural workers
  • Independent contractors (in most cases)
  • Volunteers (in most cases)

We discussed eligibility requirements in more detail in a previous blog you can read here.

Legal Protections for Employees

Florida law ensures that if you’re injured on the job, your employment rights are protected while you’re on workers’ compensation.

Retaliation Prohibitions

Under Florida Statutes section 440.205, employers cannot fire, threaten, or intimidate you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. It’s illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for exercising your right to secure benefits following a workplace injury.

Right to Reinstate

An important aspect of your rights in Florida includes the possibility of reinstatement after recovering from a work-related injury. Although not guaranteed, you may have a right to your former position if you’re able to perform your duties after recovery, depending on the size of your company and the duration of your leave.

Can You Be Fired While on Workers’ Comp?

Florida is an “at-will” employment state, meaning employers generally have the freedom to terminate employees for most reasons, with some exceptions. While employers in Florida cannot legally fire someone solely for filing a workers’ compensation claim, they may attempt to disguise a retaliatory termination as a layoff. Here’s what you need to know:

Employer Tactics and Red Flags

  • Sudden Layoffs: If layoffs primarily target individuals who recently filed workers’ comp claims, it raises suspicion.
  • Shifting Explanations: Inconsistent or vague reasons for termination, especially after initially acknowledging your injury, can be a red flag.
  • Selective Layoffs: If layoffs seem to conveniently exclude healthy employees while targeting injured workers, it warrants further investigation.

Protecting Yourself

  • Document Everything: Maintain detailed records of your work performance, communication with your employer regarding your injury and claim, and any layoff announcements or discussions.
  • Seek Representation: Consulting an experienced Fort Lauderdale workers comp lawyer can help you analyze the situation, identify potential inconsistencies, and explore legal options.
  • Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with Florida’s workers’ compensation laws and protections against retaliation.

Proving Retaliatory Termination

Demonstrating that a layoff was actually a disguised termination for filing workers’ comp can be challenging. Here are some key elements:

  • Evidence of filing a workers’ comp claim: This establishes your protected activity.
  • Proof of termination: Documentation like termination notice or witness testimonies.
  • Establishing a causal connection: This is the most crucial aspect. You need to demonstrate a link between filing the claim and your termination, potentially through inconsistent explanations, selective layoffs, or timing coinciding with your claim.

A workers’ compensation attorney can help you gather evidence, build a strong case, and navigate the legal process. They can also advise you on potential legal remedies, such as reinstatement, back pay, or compensatory damages.

Remember: The burden of proof lies with you as the employee to establish retaliation. However, an experienced workers’ comp lawyer can guide you through this complex process and advocate for your rights.

Will I Still Receive My Benefits if I’m Fired?

In most cases, your workers’ compensation benefits will not be affected even if you are terminated. Florida law ensures injured workers receive payments until they fully recover or reach MMI. However, benefits might be stopped if you were fired for “cause,” meaning egregious misconduct unrelated to your injury.

Facing Unfair Termination or Been Terminated Because You Filed a Workers’ Comp Claim? We’re Here for You 

Have you been fired after filing a workers’ compensation claim in Florida? Or are you worried about losing your job due to a work-related injury? Don’t navigate this challenging situation alone.

Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Fort Lauderdale workers comp lawyer today to discuss your specific situation and understand your legal options. We can help you determine if your termination was unlawful, gather evidence to support your case, explore legal remedies, such as reinstatement or compensation.

Don’t let your rights be violated. Take action today and protect your future. Contact Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates at (866) 519-3831 for a FREE, no-obligation consultation, or reach out to us through our online form. Let us take the burden off your shoulders so you can focus on what’s most important: your recovery and your future.

Copyright © 2024. Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A. All rights reserved. 

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A.
1645 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd #550
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 598-7120
https://workerscompfl.net

Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A.
7380 Sandlake Road, Suite 500
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 896-0116
https://workerscompfl.net/

Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A.
110 E Broward Blvd #1700
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 581-9115
https://workerscompfl.net/

Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A.
543 NW Lake Whitney Place, Suite 106
Port St. Lucie, FL 34986
(772) 461-9181
https://workerscompfl.net/

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