by Lauren Osgood | Mar 06, 2019 | Workers' Compensation
Nobody goes to work and expects to get hurt. If you are injured on the job, you are probably most concerned with receiving treatment, getting back to work, and resuming your normal life. Many clients are worried about potential backlash from filing a claim against their employer and are afraid of getting the benefits they are entitled to. At The Bainbridge Firm, we are often asked, “if I file this claim, will I be terminated?” In Ohio, an employer can fire you for any reason, however, if they fire you for simply filing a workers’ compensation claim, you should consider taking steps to preserve your right to sue the employer for discrimination. Generally, it is against Ohio law for an employer to discharge you for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The laws that protect you from wrongful termination also protect you from being fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Ohio Revised Code 4123.90 states that no employer shall discharge, demote, reassign, or take any punitive action against any employee because the employee filed a claim for an injury or occupational disease which occurred in the course of an arising out of their employment with that employer.
You can still be fired for reasons that are not related to your claim. Ohio is an at-will employment state; therefore, employers are allowed to fire you with or without a reason—as long as it does not violate state or federal law. If, prior to your injury, you had gotten written warnings, missed shifts, or displayed other unprofessional behavior, your employer is free to fire you. You can also be laid off while you are on workers’ compensation. Luckily, your workers’ compensation claim will not disappear if you do get fired or laid off.
If you file a workers’ compensation claim and your employer then terminates you, the law requires you to notify your employer that you are considering filing a lawsuit against them for the termination. If the employer is not notified within the time frame you run the risk of losing your right to pursue any further action. If you believe that you have been fired in violation of Ohio law, you only have 180 days from the notice of the termination, demotion, reassignment, or punitive action taken to file an action in the common pleas court of the county of your employment. Therefore, as soon as you know that you are being terminated, you should speak to an attorney to explore your options.
You should never avoid filing a workers’ compensation claim due to fear of retaliation! Do not delay filing a workers’ compensation claim if you think you are entitled to benefits. Contact The Bainbridge Firm today to make sure that all of your benefits and rights are protected.
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