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  • Not being able to perform work after work injury

    Hi,

    is it possible / legal to be fired after a work related accident because you are not able to perform your job anymore?
    The worker was working in a warehouse and was not able/allowed to perform the work anymore (note from the doctor).

    The company tried to let him work in the office at a desk job (for six months) but he wasn't able to do the job (not because of the work accident but because of his work skills).

    Can he be fired because of not being able to perform the job considering the background of the work accident (which created the whole situation)?

    Thank you for your help and information!

  • #2
    Yes, he can. The law does not require that you keep someone on the payroll if they are incapable of working for you just because they had an injury at work. I would keep your WC carrier in the loop as you may be on the hook for voc rehab or other benefits but you do not have to keep them in a job they can no longer do.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Thank you ElleMD.

      Would you by any chance know which law it is (the one you mentioned).

      I guess something from Title 29?

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      • #4
        There is no law that spells out that you can fire someone who is injured, but there is an absence of a law that says you can not. You can not fire someone BECAUSE they filed a WC claim but this clearly isn't the issue here. Filing a WC claim is not a shield against ever being fired.

        The closest real law here is ADA/ ADAA. It states that you must provide reasonable accommodation for disabilities if those accommodations would allow the person to perform the essential functions of their job. This employe can not perform those essential functions and your accommodation of an office job is not reasonable as the employee does not have the skills and education required. You can read more about ADA here http://www.ada.gov/
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          Agreed. Past that, if WC is involved, talked to your carrier prior to taking any action. They have a much better idea of what the state law requirements (if any) are.

          Under Employment At Will (common law), all terminations are legal unless the termination violates a very specific law saying that it is not. The ususal suspects on the federal side of things are FMLA and ADA, and state law says whatever state law says. WC is state law.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by durant View Post
            Thank you ElleMD.

            Would you by any chance know which law it is (the one you mentioned).

            I guess something from Title 29?
            What is your state? WC laws, including return to work issues may be/are state specific.

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