Fired after injury at work?

by Kim
(Westmoreland, NY)

I fell at work on July 4th 2013 and broke the radial head in my elbow, tore a ligament in my wrist and tore ligaments in my hand. I just had surgery on my wrist Oct 18th 2013 and work told me they can no longer hold my position. I am currently out on workmans comp. They told me I can re-apply after I get released by my doctor with no medical or physical limitations.

Can they fire me like that after I was hurt on the job?

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Fired after injury at work?":

Kim (Westmoreland, NY):

In a word, yes. Unfortunately, your employer is not legally required to continue to employ you if you aren't able to work. Even if you heal and are subsequently able to return to work, your employer is still not obligated to keep your position open or offer you a different position.

The only exception would be if you were working under a written employment contract or your employee manual states your employer will rehire injured workers when they are able to return to work. Otherwise, in the State of New York you are considered an "at will" employee. As such, your employer can fire you or refuse to rehire you for just about any reason other than race, age, or sexual discrimination.

If you feel your employer is refusing to rehire you based on a discrimination factor, then you may have a solid discrimination case against your employer. Otherwise, unfortunately, you may have to seek employment elsewhere.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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