Visitor Question

Terminated immediately after reporting injury?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Knoxville, Tennessee)

I injured my shoulder during the course of doing my job. Repetitive stresses above shoulder level caused something in my shoulder to be damaged. I reported my injury the next day and filled out an injury report, which I turned in to H.R.

The following day, I was terminated due to fictitious employees saying I said the injury happened at home. I received no medical treatment, even after stating I had not said this. The emergency room doctor’s opinion was the injury was consistent with my description of circumstances. I was referred to an orthopedic doctor, who again agreed the injury was consistent with circumstances.

I filed both doctors’ visits under workmans comp and have a claim #, however my medical bills are not being paid, and treatment stopped due to the claim adjuster not approving treatment. The injury happened nearly a month ago. My pain is intense and numbness has occurred in my arm and fingers.

Can I be terminated like I was, since my employer knew I had suffered an injury at work? Also, is this not wrongful termination? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

In the State of Tennessee it is illegal for an employer to terminate the employment of an injured worker in retaliation for the worker having filed a workers comp claim. However, the Tennessee Workers Compensation Bureau is not empowered to hear wrongful termination claims. Such claims must be filed in the Tennessee court system.

To succeed in a wrongful termination claim in Tennessee will depend on whether you were a contractual employee or an employee at will. If you were contractual employee your claim will be based on breach of contract.

If you were an employee at will, meaning you are working without a contract of employment, you need only show your employment was terminated in direct retaliation for your having filed a workers compensation claim.

It will be difficult for you to prove your employment was terminated in retaliation for your having filed a workers comp claim. To do so will require you to have evidence eliminating other causes for your termination such as excessive tardiness, failure to perform the work you were required to do, disruption of the workplace, etc.

Wrongful termination claims are almost always vigorously defended. Your former employer will assuredly be represented by an experienced litigation attorney specializing in wrongful termination. To have any chance of success will require you to retain the services of an experienced attorney.

Because wrongful termination claims may not be handled on a contingency fee basis, you may have to pay your attorney an hourly fee. Doing so can become quite expensive. However, in the event you prevail, there is a good chance the court will order your former employer to pay your attorney’s fees in addition to other financial damages.

Read more at the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development website.

Learn more here: Getting Fired After an Injury

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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