In the great majority of the US, employers have the right to terminate their workers’ employment with or without cause. The state of Illinois is one of the at-will states where a cause is not needed to fire a worker in the absence of a contract between the parties. At the same time, the employee also has the right to terminate the relationship in the same way.
Employers’ Obligations Toward Employees Who Return to Work after a Work-Related Accident
The employer or company where you work is not obligated to reserve your job position until you are able to return to work. However, they have the responsibility and obligation to try to accommodate you and find a similar position to the one you were in previously. In cases where the employee returns to work with restrictions, the employer is required to accommodate the employee’s new disability provided it does not involve prohibitive or excessive cost. Usually, large companies have positions already created and the necessary resources to place people like you in different positions. However, small businesses or family businesses with few employees tend to have difficulty re-assigning employees with limitations. If this occurs, and they cannot reserve your position or accommodate your disability, they are not in violation of the law.
Being Fired due to a Work Accident
Employers in the state of Illinois are forbidden to retaliate against workers who report workplace injuries or accidents and receive benefits. An example of retaliation could be demoting you from your job or lowering your salary even if you are capable of working in the same capacity as before the accident. The most drastic and devastating example is that of being fired in retaliation for having reported a workplace accident. If this can be proved, you have a case against your employer.
Gray Areas of the Law
Usually, it is not easy to determine if your being fired is an act of retaliation, or simply your employer’s inability to reserve your position or readjust your duties to accommodate your limitations. In these cases, you will benefit from a consultation from specialist lawyers in Workers’ Compensation law and labor law. A consultation with Grupo MedLegal’s accident doctors and lawyers guarantees you an extensive analysis of the case. We look at factors such as:
- The size of the company you work for.
- Your skills and experience.
- The type of rearrangement required by the employer to accommodate your disability.
- The financial impact that you would make on your employer.
An important detail is that the Workers’ Compensation benefits you are receiving do not stop if you are fired. At the same time, you continue to have the right to payment of medical expenses and the necessary medications to continue your recovery.