Louisiana Workers’ Compensation: Can I Get Fired From My Job If I Make A Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Getting injured or falling ill on the job can cause a host of different fears and anxieties. In addition to the actual injury or illness itself, and the treatment and recovery, injured workers may wonder what their rights and options are when it comes to things like wages when they are unable to work due to the injury or illness, and medical expenses as a result of the injury or illness. On top of this, many workers who are interested in workers’ compensation benefits might be hesitant to file a workers’ compensation claim because they may fear backlash from their employer. However, Louisiana workers should be assured that it is unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee for filing for workers’ compensation benefits as a result of an on-the-job injury or illness.
“At Will” Employment in Louisiana
It is true that Louisiana is an “at will” employment state. This means that if there is no employment contract, an employee is an “at will” employee and an employer can terminate that employee for any lawful and non-discriminatory reason. The reason can range from the reasonable to the nonsensical, but that is the law. For example, an employer can terminate an employee because they don’t like their work ethic and they can also terminate an employee because they don’t like their choice in T.V. shows. As long as neither reason is based on a discriminatory or otherwise unlawful pretext, it is within the employer’s discretion whether to terminate the employee. Generally, under both state and federal laws it is unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee based on such factors as their race, sex, religion, or because they are a whistleblower, among other factors. In these instances, a worker may have a potential workplace discrimination or unlawful termination case. The same applies in the workers’ compensation context. In Louisiana, an employer cannot lawfully terminate an employee for filing a legitimate workers’ compensation claim in most circumstances. If the employer does terminate an employee for filing a legitimate workers’ compensation claim, the employee may have a case for unlawful termination.
In fact, under Louisiana workers’ compensation laws, it is specifically unlawful to terminate an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. For example, the Louisiana workers’ compensation law states, “[n]o person shall discharge an employee from employment because of said employee having asserted a claim for benefits under this [workers’ compensation] chapter.”
An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help You Navigate Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation laws in Louisiana and other states are tough to navigate, and the workers’ compensation system is not always easy to go through without sound help. Fortunately, workers’ compensation lawyers work to help employees who have been injured or who have fallen ill on the job exercise their rights to workers’ compensation benefits. If you have been injured or have fallen ill at work and you have questions about filing for workers’ compensation benefits, contact the experienced Louisiana & Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe for a confidential consultation.