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Industrial injury resulting in termination Arizona

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  • Industrial injury resulting in termination Arizona

    I was recently terminated from employment with the City of Eloy here in Arizona. Reason; I have been on industrial accident leave since 9/20/07 due to a shoulder injury resulting in complex surgery and lots of physical therapy. The City allowed me the 12 weeks of FMLA running concurrently with industrial leave. They also kept me on the payroll for an additional 5 weeks. I had an accumulated total of 340 hours of sick leave that was not used and an additional 80 hours of vacation leave. The City paid me for the vacation time but dissolved my sick leave upon termination. Like everyone, my insurance benefits went with the job. Now I have to pay for COBRA which consumes over half of what I receive from the industrial pay. This whole thing smells rotten to me. Many people believe that your job is protected by law while you are on an approved industrial accident leave. Are we wrong? Thanks for any help I may receive.

  • #2
    Yes, you are wrong.

    While you cannot be terminated BECAUSE you file a workers comp claim, that is not the same thing as saying you cannot be fired for the duration of a workers comp claim. Once FMLA has expired, barring a state law, contract or CBA that specifically says otherwise, the employer is free to let you go, regardless of whether the injury was work related or not. I am unaware of any Arizona state law that says otherwise; ElleMd, Betty3 or Joec will be certain to let me know if I am wrong. If you have a contract, company policy or CBA that promises you job protection, you did not mention it.

    One thing - in some states, mine among them, while you can be terminated while on a workers comp claim, state law requires that once you are medically cleared to work, the employer is required to give you first refusal of any open positions that you are qualified for. They are not required to give you a job for which you are not qualified; to create a new position for you or to bump someone out of their job for you, but if they have an open position for which you are qualified, you must be given first crack at it.

    I know that my state is not the only one with such a requirement but I do not know whether Arizona is one of them. You can certainly check with the state w/c commission to see what they say.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      Arizona does not provide any greater protections.
      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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